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Voluntary Business Regulation for Sustainability

László Fekete’s paper “Voluntary Business Regulation for Sustainability: Intends, Norms and Motivations of Building Public Trust of Corporate Managers” was published in Christoph Lütge and Christoph Strosetzki (Eds.): The Honorable Merchant – Between Modesty and Risk-Taking: Intercultural and Literary Aspects (Springer, 2019, pp. 55–73).

In his paper, László Fekete observes that although tackling climate change and environmental degradation are the shared responsibility of the global community for averting catastrophic consequences and the likelihood of severe welfare losses on global level, the majority of the states are not willing to give up their short-term economic interests and to pool their sovereignty to make legally binding international environmental agreements. Therefore, the implementation and enforcement of a comprehensive and coercive international regulatory regime have been stalled in the international fora for a long time. At the same time, private regulation, voluntary environmental assessment and reporting framework initiated by business, civic and professional organizations have been proliferating since the beginning of the 1990s.

Fekete underlines that the question is whether these private self-regulatory initiatives of assessing and monitoring environmental performances, especially, of the large corporations are the adequate and proper substitute of mandatory multilateral environmental agreements; whether those regarding global environmental outcomes can counterbalance the unwillingness of the majority of the states to comply with a stringent international regulatory regime.