Key trends in the field of corporate responsibility

There have been many significant developments in the field of corporate responsibility in the past few months. Some of these cutting-edge developments have happened beneath the radar. This blog post examines some of these trends.

Sustainable stock exchanges

A number of the world’s stock exchanges are working to become more sustainable. With support from the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, the UN Global Compact and UNCTAD, participating stock exchanges are setting the following goals: how can exchanges encourage long-term investment? How can stock exchanges promote greater transparency? A wide range of stock exchanges are looking at establishing listing requirements to promote greater disclosure of ESG (environmental, social and governance) data. In 2010, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange became the first stock exchange to require listed companies to move towards integrated reporting.

Trade agreements and CR

A number of bilateral trade agreements are beginning to reference CSR. For example the trade agreement between Canada and Peru which entered into force in 2009 is groundbreaking in that it creates a forum to address CSR issues. In the preamble of the agreement, both Canada and Peru agree to:

ENCOURAGE enterprises operating within their territory or subject to their jurisdiction, to respect internationally recognized corporate social responsibility standards and principles and pursue best practices.

In the coming weeks, the UN Environment Programme is launching a report I wrote on trade and CSR.


New technologies are emerging which allow enhanced traceability through the chain of custody. From, organic and fair trade to SA8000-certified, companies are gathering information on how products move through a supply chain to ensure that a consumer receives goods that conform to ESG standards and norms. For example, the Made-By label for responsible fashion in Europe allows consumers to track and trace certified products though the supply chain, including SA8000 and organic certification.

Deborah Leipziger

Advisor on corporate responsibility issues
Greenleaf Author

Deborah’s The Corporate Responsibility Code Book [2nd Edn] is a highly acclaimed guide for companies trying to understand the landscape of corporate responsibility and searching for their own, unique route towards satisfying diverse stakeholders.


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