State, Civil Society and Business Groups: Strategic linkages and Greening of Government and Business in Asia
Karunamay Subuddhi, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay:, India
With the globalization of the production process, policy studies have increasingly focused attention on the gap between the social and environmental standards which business groups apply to their operations in the developed and in those of the developing economies. Under pressure from labor unions, NGOs and increasingly the general public the private sector is adopting a variety of voluntary initiatives to promote socially responsible business practices. The pressure for change is greatest for firms operating outside their home markets particularly those corporations that are having their base in developed countries but with production facilities and suppliers in developing countries. The pressures for change are most articulated by labor unions, non –governmental organizations and civil society at large. They now reflect genuine moral concerns about the well being of the workers and environment in the developing countries. Multinationals are coming under increasing pressure to end abusive child labor and other exploitative practices. One of the consequences of this attention to human rights, labor and environmental standards is that these issues are increasingly becoming part of self regulatory process whereby firms set rules and standards relating to conduct of their business activities . Firms are collaborating with governments, NGOs, labor unions to draw up labor and environmental laws. Efforts are also being made to make the citizens/consumers more aware of the correct practices and goods. Environmental labeling schemes [such as Green seal, Blue angel, Rugmark label etc in US, Germany and other European countries] are being developed and administered in cooperation with government agencies. However, it is argued in this paper that for an effective environmental regulation governmental involvement would be necessary. It is revealed in several empirical studies that credibility of business sector regulation is undermined by weak verification and enforcement.
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