Monthly Archives: December 2010

CSR and the Law: Five Big Developments in 2010

Looking back at 2010, there have been a number of significant legal developments in the field of corporate social responsibility.  New federal and state statutes have imposed due diligence requirements on companies with the specific intent of addressing human rights concerns, ranging from forced labor to the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Courts continue to grapple with the potential scope of corporate liability under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”).  At the international level, the concept of the corporate “responsibility to respect” human rightsMore

European Parliament Adopts Resolution on Corporate Social Responsibility

A resolution adopted by the European Parliament on November 25, 2010 increases the likelihood that the days of CSR as a purely voluntary initiative are numbered. Approved by a margin of 480 votes to 48, the resolution on corporate social responsibility in international trade agreements calls on the European Commission to include a CSR clause in all of the European Union’s trade agreements.

Such a clause would require, inter alia, companies to publish “CSR balance sheets,” report on due diligence, and seek free, prior and informed consultationMore

When Creepy is the New Cool: The Internet, Consumer Privacy, and Human Rights

Foley Hoag’s Emerging Enterprise Center blog has recently published several posts on a preliminary staff report, recently released by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), which sets out a proposed framework for protecting privacy in the digital economy.  Specifically, the report endorses the implementation of a “Do Not Track” mechanism to allow consumers to choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding their online activities.

The most recent post on the Emerging Enterprise Center blog is copied below and reflects the tensions that exist between companies that depend upon tracking technologies and consumer advocates seeking more protection over their personal data.  As summarized by our Security,… More

SEC Issues Proposed Rules on Conflict Minerals and Disclosure of Payments to Governments

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) posted proposed rules pursuant to Section 1502 (conflict minerals) and Section 1504 (disclosure of payments to governments) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

The proposed rules are open for comment until January 31, 2011.  Final rules will be issued no later than April 15, 2011.

We will be providing further analysis of both of these proposed rules.  Based on an initial review, key points include:

Section 1502 (Conflict Minerals)

The proposed reporting requirements apply to all… More

Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Carijano v. Occidental Petroleum

Early last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revived a tort case brought by 25 members of the Peruvian Achuar indigenous group and Amazon Watch against Occidental Petroleum ("Occidental").  Plaintiffs allege that the company’s operations in the Peruvian Amazon resulted in severe contamination of the land and rivers in the region and that, as a result, they have suffered adverse health effects and negative impacts on their livelihoods.

Plaintiffs originally filed suit in 2007 in state court and asserted common law tort claims including negligence, fraud and misrepresentation, trespass, and… More

U.N. Special Representative for Business and Human Rights Releases Draft “Guiding Principles”

The U.N. Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, John Ruggie, has released the long-awaited draft of his final report, the Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy’" Framework (.pdf).  The Guiding Principles are the culmination of the Special Representative’s mandate, which began in 2005, and which will conclude when the final report is delivered to the U.N. Human Rights Council in June 2011.  The draft is open for public comment until January 31, 2011.

The Guiding Principles build on the Special Representative’s… More