Transnational Governance Interactions: Case Studies in an Analytical Frame
LSA Panel 2013 | Law and Society Association Annual Conference, Boston | May 31, 2013
The LSA Panel 2013, chaired by Errol Meidinger, took place at the 37th annual meeting of The Law and Society Association (LSA), an interdisciplinary scholarly organization committed to social scientific, interpretive, and historical analyses of law across multiple social contexts.
The panel session addressed an analytical framework intended to facilitate the investigation of the drivers, forms, causal mechanisms and pathways of Transnational Business Governance Interactions (TBGI), and their effects on regulatory capacity, performance and outcomes. The panel papers sought to apply, critique, and improve the usefulness of the framework for socio-legal research on transnational business governance.
Errol Meidinger led off the panel with a paper that reviewed expansions in transnational forestry governance institutions from the 1980s to the present. His presentation argued that weaker state regulation and more prevalent private regulation has created intense trends toward regulatory homogeneity. Karin Buhmann followed with a presentation that addressed the development of human rights duties and accountability standards for transnational corporations. Particularly, Dr. Buhmann examined how standard-setting in this area by the United Nations served to give voice to the interests of various non-state stakeholders. The panel concluded with Stepan Wood’s presentation of a case study of the International Organization for Standardization and its development of the ISO 26000 Guide on Social Responsibility. Applying the above-mentioned analytical framework, Dr. Wood examined and characterized the causal pathways and mechanisms of interaction both within ISO and between ISO and other leading transnational business governance organizations.
An increasing portion of business regulation emanates not from conventional state and inter-state institutions but from an array of private sector, civil society, multi-stakeholder and hybrid public-private institutions operating in a dynamic, transnational regulatory space. Transnational business governance (TBG) has grown in scope and importance as production, consumption and their impacts have globalized and as states reconsider established modes of regulation. As TBG schemes proliferate, it has become clear that they do not operate in isolation. Rather, they interact with one another, and with other normative regimes, state-based and non-state, in highly diverse ways. However, our knowledge of these interactions, and hence of their role in larger regulatory systems, remains incomplete. What are the drivers, mechanisms and pathways of interaction? What are its outputs, outcomes and impacts? Working with a growing network of scholars, and building on the extant literature, the panel organizers have developed an analytical framework to facilitate investigation of the drivers, forms, causal mechanisms and pathways of TBGI, and their effects on regulatory capacity, performance and outcomes.
The papers in this panel session sought to apply, critique, and improve the usefulness of the TBGI analytical framework.
Errol Meidinger, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law
- Errol Meidinger, “Transnational Forestry Governance: States Roar Back in a Tightening Web of Interdependence”
- Karin Buhmann, “Business and Human Rights: Legitimacy Implications of Intergovernmental Construction of Business Responsibilities for Human Rights”, revised version issued in TBGI SSRN series; available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2425018.
- Stepan Wood, “Transnational Business Governance Interactions: The Case of ISO and the Standardization of Social Responsibility”