On Saturday, March 20, 2010, the Asia Law Society at the University of Michigan Law School will convene a symposium entitled "Doing Business in Asia Without Selling Your Soul: Corporate Social Responsibility and Its Influence on the Rule of Law.
Increasingly, multinational corporations are being pressured by governments, consumers, and in some cases even their victims, to act as good corporate citizens. Recently, Google announced that it was going to withdraw from doing business in China after it learned that the Chinese government had allegedly been using its services to spy on human rights activitists. This was in contrast to several years earlier when Yahoo! was skewered in Congressional hearings for disclosing personal information about political dissidents to the Chinese government.
In the upcoming symposium, the Asia Law Society would like to focus on how corporate social responsibility actually operates in Asia, how it should operate, and which firms and industries are best-situated to influence the development of the rule of law in the countries in which they operate. What happens when foreign companies tailor their business plans without the threat of enforcement from their equivalents of OSHA, CPSC, and the EPA so that standards are defined more by the corporations than by the government? Additionally, what kind of influence do corporations have on the interpretation of laws as the laws are being contemporaneously drafted and adopted? And should they?
To better understand these issues, we have invited legal scholars, industry executives, practitioners, and NGO representatives to comment on the developments and the future of corporate social responsibility in Asia. Our symposium will contemplate the issue through three different social concerns: (1) resource exploitation and renewable energy, (2) labor and trafficking, and (3) access to information and freedom of expression.
Please view our list of highly esteemed participants, and don't forget to register for the symposium, which will ensure that we can accommodate you for our keynote lunch at the Lawyer's Club Lounge.
We look forward to seeing you on March 20th!