Authors meet Readers series: Dr Olufemi Amao on Corporate Social Responsibility

‘Authors meet Readers’ series: celebrating the work of UCC PhD Law graduates  

I am delighted to introduce Dr Olufemi Amao as part of our ongoing ‘Authors meet Readers’ online series, celebrating the distinguished research and publishing of our PhD graduates. Dr Amao completed his PhD  at UCC in 2008, and also lectured at UCC in the areas of Business Law. He was an active contributor to our PhD graduate training programme and to the activities of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights. Femi copyOne of my favourite photographs from the launch of the CCJHR is Olufemi with a graduate of the LLM (Research) programme, Nikolaos D. Stamatakis.

 Olufemi’s blog post reflects on the themes addressed in his PhD, and recently published in his monograph, as part of the Routledge Research in Corporate Law series. Olufemi has also published in several leading international journals, and continues to make a significant contribution to the emerging body of law on Corporate Social Responsibility and International Human Rights Law. Full details of his many publications are available at: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/law/people/academic/olufemi-amao

 Femi

Delighted to welcome, Dr Olufemi Amao:

Reflections on my book: Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law: Multinational Corporations in Developing Countries

My book Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law: Multinational Corporations in Developing Countries was published in 2011 as part of the Routledge Research in Corporate Law series. Based on my doctoral research which I completed at UCC in 2008/2009, the book addresses the confluence between the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the law against the backdrop of the control of Multinational Corporations (MNCs).

Femi bookMNCS have significant economic and social impact in their global operations which are not always beneficial. Available evidence shows that such negative impact is pronounced in the area of human rights.  The control of MNCs continues to be a challenge to law making institutions both at domestic and international level. The response of MNCs themselves to this challenge is to adopt voluntary CSR strategies in the hope that this will discourage law makers from imposing statutory standards of CSR.

The United Nations continue to explore options of establishing international CSR standards, and international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are actively contributing to this effort. My book contributed to the discourse especially from the perspective of developing countries. A key argument that I made is that for the concept of CSR to be relevant and effective, there needs to be a balanced interaction between the concept and the law. The law at domestic and international level can be employed in creative ways to enhance the concept of CSR.  In the book I made various suggestions on how this can be achieved.

The importance of this book is underscored by recent developments both at the domestic level and at the international level. The United Nations recently introduced the Framework for Business and Human Rights and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights developed by the former UN Special Representative for Human Rights and Business, Professor John Ruggie .[1] This was the latest attempt by the UN to create an international standard for CSR, a theme that was extensively covered in my book.

 One of the chapters in the book discusses the potential of the judicial application of the Alien Tort Claims Act in the United States, and how this may impact on international standards for MNCs.  The statute conferred jurisdiction on the US federal district court to adjudicate on cases brought by foreigners against entities including MNCs. Legal experts and major international organisations saw the ATCA process as the most effective way for enforcing international standards against MNCs. However there has been a setback to this idea. In a recent decision in Kiobel v Shell[2] on April 17, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States effectively closed this avenue. The court in that case severely limited the ability of foreign litigants to enforce international human rights standards against MNCs in US courts.

A few words on me and my career so far. I am currently a Lecturer at Brunel Law School, Brunel University, London. I teach a number of subjects including Company Law, Banking Law and International Finance Law. My research area is wide ranging and includes: Company Law, Corporate Law Theory, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Multinational Corporations, Human Rights and International Law. I am currently working on a book on ‘African Union Law’.  I completed my PhD studies (under the supervision of Professor Irene Lynch Fannon and Professor Ursula Kilkelly) supported by the President’s PhD scholarship and the Department of Law Postgraduate Research scholarship. Further information can be found here: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/law/people/academic/olufemi-amao


[1] ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy: A Framework for Business and Human Rights’, Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on the issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises, A/HRC/8/5 (7 April 2008); Human Rights Council,  ‘ Guiding  Principles  on Business and Human Rights: Implimenting the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework’, A/HRC/17/31 (21 March, 2011).

[2] Esther Kiobel et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., et al. No. 10-1491