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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SEC weighs forcing disclosure over ‘conflict minerals’

Thousands of companies could be forced to reveal the source of metals and ores they use under a proposed U.S. rule aimed at cutting the flow of money to armed rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  See full article in the Globe & Mail here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

IFC Environmental & Social Performance Standards in Project Financing

The International Finance Corporation Environmental & Social Performance Standards (“IFC Standards”) has become the global benchmark for corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) in project financing. While the IFC Standards originated in relation to projects financed by the World Bank, they are now used by all financial institutions around the globe that have signed on to the “Equator Principles”, accounting for over 90% of global project finance. This makes the IFC Standards a “must know” for strategic leadership of multinational corporations interested in maintaining access to capital for their international projects.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Canada’s CSR Counsellor: Open for Business

The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor (“CSR Counsellor”) opened for business on October 20, 2010. This new Government of Canada dispute resolution mechanism represents an important and very unique development affecting the legal and risk management practices of Canadian mining and oil & gas companies doing business abroad.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Persuasive Authority Beyond the State

A Theoretical Analysis of Transnational Corporate Social Responsibility Norms as Legal Reasons within Positive Legal Systems

I've uploaded a recently completed paper on the incorporation of transnational and private CSR norms into legal systems here.  Comments and critique would be appreciated.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CSR counsellor opens shop in Canada as Bill C-300 vote looms

Canada's new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor for the extractive industries officially opened her doors on Wednesday, just one week before Members of Parliament (MPs) vote on a contentious piece of legislation aimed at improving the behaviour of Canadian mining companies abroad. See full article in the Mining Weekly here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Industry Comments on draft CSR Procedures

A group of industry leaders including PDAC has sent a number of recommendations to the Government of Canada's CSR Counsellor as part of a consultation process in respect of the CSR Counsellor's Rules of Procedure.  The submission can be found here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

CSR: Perspectives in the Mining Sector in Peru

Information on the CSR Counsellor Website:

DATE: October 26, 2010

TIME: 11:45 - 14:00
PLACE: Ogilvy Renault Royal Bank Plaza - South Tower 200 Bay Street - Suite 3800 Toronto, Ontario

FEES: PCCC Members - $50

Non-members - $75
(includes lunch)

THEME: Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (PCCC)'s Luncheon Seminar Series


The Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) recognizes the importance of CSR and invites you to a multi-stakeholder dialogue where representatives from the Government of Peru, Canada, Mining Industry and others will share their views and experiences about this important matter.

This event is being sponsored by PCCC's Leadership Member, OGILVY RENAULT - one of Canada's leading full-service law firms, which has the experience and resources to advise Canadian and international clients with domestic and global mining interests.
Guest speakers:

Walter Casquino: President, INGEMMET- Ministry of Energy and Mines, Government of Peru
Marketa Evans, PhD: Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor, Government of Canada
Ross Gallinger: Senior Vice-President, Health, Safety & Sustainability, IAMGOLD
Kevin D’Souza: Director, Community Affairs, Barrick Gold
Michael Torrance: Lawyer, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Ogilvy Renault
Louis Vos: Senior Investment Officer, Global Mining Group-Caribbean and Latin America, IFC, Washington
Facilitated by: Andrea Mandel-Campbell (Co-Anchor BNN)


Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (PCCC)


Jim Louttit

Monday, September 13, 2010

Corporate Responsibility as Legal Risk Management

Corporate Responsibility (“CR”) has been referred to as a form of “self-regulation in the shadow of the law.” It is aimed at the management of social expectations between corporate organizations and their stakeholders, most notably in the areas of environment, health and safety, employment, human rights and community relations. While CR may often be voluntarily adopted by corporate organizations, it can and should be seen to serve as an extension of sound legal management, aimed at mitigating legal and other social risks for the business organization.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples

The General Assembly of the United Nations have adopted in September 2007 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since the Declaration is soft law, it is not legally binding on States, but the standards that it recognizes could, if they become part of the consistent conduct of States acting out of the belief that the law requires them to act that way, become customary law... See full article by Pierre-Christian Labeau of Ogilvy Renault here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

International Human Rights Due Diligence: An Evolving Concept With Legal Implications

Due diligence in respect of human rights risks is becoming particularly important for multinational corporations. The basis for human rights due diligence may arise from local laws, international law or custom, or the requirements of lenders and investors. Due diligence allows multinational companies to promote compliance with societal expectations and take precautions to avoid liability for human rights violations.
The purpose of this article is to review the elements of human rights due diligence for multinational corporations and discuss their legal implications.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mining and Resources Newsletter

Ogilvy Renault's Quarterly Newsletter on Mining and Resource Law can be found here, with excellent articles (if I do say so, being one of the contributors!) on Bill C-300 and new disclosure obligations on Environmental Social and Governance indicators. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Role of Authority in Law and Business: Lessons from Google and China

The Google/China issue is a fascinating topic for legal counsel because it brings into stark terms the true challenge of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for business law.  At its essence, the question being debated by both sides of this issue is the proper role of "authority" as a guide for corporate conduct.  This is the focus of my graduate thesis, and I believe it is a central issue in understanding how corporations should navigate social expectations, be they legal, ethical, or CSR related - or as is most often the case, a tangled amalgam of each.

CSR and Pension Benefit Legacies

In a recent article of the Financial Times (full article here), it was noted that a pension scheme of a major food manufacturer was found to have a provision that prevents alteration of the pension plan insofar as such a change would be "unfair or materially detrimental" to the plan's beneficiaries. The article hypothesizes that the "unusual clause" could be linked to the company's "Quaker heritage" and "its doctrine of giving a fair deal to staff and suppliers". This raises some interesting legal issues, and reveals the potential for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) motivations to affect legal relations far into the future.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Social Entrepreurship: Legislative Innovations

This white paper, developed by the MaRS Discovery District, is part of a series that explores the opportunities and challenges supporting the growth of social ventures in Ontario.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grievance Processes for Internal and External Stakeholders

The purpose of this post is to consider the issue of internal and external stakeholder grievance mechanisms from a legal perspective.  The impetus was an interesting article I read by John Sherman, a senior fellow with the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of Harvard Kennedy School on the topic.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Law Times: Workplace death sparks charges

"Ontario’s first instance of criminal charges against a corporation under a recent federal law may be a signal authorities are taking a more aggressive approach to workplace safety following a recent public outcry."  See full article here.

Report: Nestle Cancels Sinar Mas Contract After Greenpeace Palm Oil Report

"Nestle has replaced the Indonesian company Sinar Mas as a supplier of palm oil with another supplier for further shipments. The Switzerland-based company has also committed to using only "certified sustainable palm oil" in its products by 2015."  See full article here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

FT: Google to shut China search engine

"Google has drawn up detailed plans for the closure of its Chinese search engine and is now “99.9 per cent” certain to go ahead as talks over censorship with the Chinese authorities have reached an apparent impasse, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking."

See full article from Financial Times here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Global CSR Monitor - First Issue Released!

Ogilvy Renault's "Global CSR Monitor", released this week...

Bill C-300 - Opposition Making Sense

While attending the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto Canada this week, I had some very interesting conversations regarding Bill C-300.

PDAC E3 Plus CSR Guidelines

I attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference this week.  It is a huge conference that takes place every year in Toronto, Canada, a trade show for the exploration and development sector of the mining industry.  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues abounded throughout the conference, with interesting discussion of PDAC's E3 Plus Framework.

Globe & Mail: China sends Google stern warning

"Obey the law or ‘pay the consequences,' country's top Internet regulator says." Full article here.

This development puts starkly the question of how legal compliance fits with CSR practices.  What happens when they conflict?  The assessment of the Chinese official is factually correct - failure to comply with state requirements will result in sanctions.  Google has the choice of staying or going.  But, they also have the choice of staying and trying to maintain their integrity in terms of openness, transparency and non-censorship to the best of their ability, despite the inherent struggles and pressures they will face. I hope they pick the third option, and I look forward to seeing what creative ways they come up with to do so.  As noted in an earlier posting this might include working through supranational organizations to promote the transparency agenda.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How CSR Practice Can Create Legal Rights or Obligations

I have noted in previous postings that CSR standards, once adopted and consistently acted upon by organizations or industries, could become evidence of customary practice that might have legal implications.  The purpose of this post is to develop this thought and briefly discuss one way in which this could happen.

Wall Street Journal: Goldman Warns Investors That Bad PR Could Hurt Business

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) has added something new to the laundry list of financial risks it faces: unflattering attention..." See full article here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Globe & Mail: Syncrude asks court to drop charge in dead ducks trial

"Forcing oil sands company to face both federal and provincial charges at the same time would be akin to ‘double jeopardy,' lawyer argues." See full article here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Audits Labor Practices

"Company Says Suppliers Hired Underage Workers, Violated Other Core Policies." writes Wall Street Journal. Read full article here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Toyoda’s Testimony

"Automaker’s CEO apologizes on Capitol Hill, but lawmakers seem unimpressed", says Associate Press. See full article here.

"Too Good to Fail"

India’s Tata, one of the world’s largest conglomerates, is basing an ambitious global strategy on 142 years of social entrepreneurship.

See full article in Strategy + Business here

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Enforced Self-Regulation: A New Paradigm for Canadian Human Rights Law?

Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) has been referred to as a form of “self-regulation in the shadow of the law”. While CSR strategies for corporate governance may be often “voluntarily” adopted, a CSR mandate can and should be seen to serve as an extension of sound legal management, aimed at mitigating legal and other social risks for the business organization.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wall Street Journal on "Sustainability" as the new "CSR"

Here's a great article called "Good Intentions", by Julian Evans, discussing how "The credit crisis has compelled companies to take a more holistic view of social responsibility...".  Published February 3, 2010.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Standard - A Sneakpeek

I have had an opportunity to examine a draft of the not yet finalized Social Responsibility standard of the International Standards Organization ("ISO"), ISO 26000. If the standard could be summed up in a formula, it would be: social responsibility = compliance with international and domestic law + stakeholder engagement + effective monitoring, review and corporate governance.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Globe & Mail: First Nations, CEOs signal new era - Bay Street leaders and AFN National Chief meet to exchange ideas

Important example of constructive engagement between Canada's business community and First Nations representatives...

Globe & Mail: Native Group Calls for Pipeline Boycott

Interesting article with social sustainability implications affecting the Canadian oil and gas industry to keep an eye on...

The Wheel Already Exists, Use It! A Response to the Work of John G. Ruggie on Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms for Business and Human Rights

This essay is from September 2008 and provides some of my early thoughts on the concept of "non-judicial grievance mechanisms" that could serve to adjudicate disputes regarding the human rights practices of business.  It was submitted as part of an open forum for John G. Ruggie, Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary General on Business and Human Rights.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Google China and the Existential Question of CSR

Public deliberations by Google Inc. regarding its operations in China bring to the fore an important and very difficult topic in the field of CSR - what should be done when it becomes impossible to do business in a socially responsible way?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Banker Bonus Benchwarmers Beware! Financial Crisis CSR Lessons

Compensation practices in the financial industry remain a highly contentious topic outstanding from the 2008 financial crisis. For those interested in the concept of CSR, the current debate on what to do, if anything, presents a case study for considering the pros and cons of proactive stakeholder engagement and consensus building by corporations.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Second Consultation on Sustainability Reporting Held - Final Report Pending

On December 7, 2009 a consultation meeting was held in Toronto on the topic of Sustainability Reporting (in particular corporate "Social" performance reporting) for the Government of Ontario.

Social Disclosure Consultation - Ontario Securities Commission

The findings of the Ontario Securities Commission (the "OSC") on enhanced Sustainability Reporting have been released to the Government of Ontario...