Volume 29 (2018) / Issue 6
This paper analyses what corp orate social responsibility (CSR) means in the European Union law context. It inquires whether this notion is similar to other already established legal concepts in EU law, and if so to what extent. This paper starts with an introduction to the European Union’s policy approach towards corporate social responsibility and compares the one from 1998 with the most recent one. This evolution shows the EU’s realization of the globally recognized shift of corporate values and the importance of CSR for the EU Internal Market. Aside of the corporate social responsibility notion, the EU has developed its own concepts emanating from the general principles and fundamental rights and values of EU law interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Furthermore, in the wake of the codification endeavour of the European contract law, the term of social justice has been established and often referred to in the context of contract and private law. Thus, it is the aim of this article to analyse the content and meaning of these terms as well as their proximity. It is the argument of this paper that these terms represent synonyms for one another, and as such could be used interchangeably. Such finding is extremely relevant given the recent frequent use of CSR contractual provisions. The real understanding of the meaning of CSR is necessary for future interpretation and application of CSR contractual clauses within the European Union and possibly outside, if parallels can be drawn. Ultimately, this article suggests direct applicability of the existing Court of Justice of the European Union’s case law on fundamental rights and social justice for future cases with a CSR aspect.
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