The rationales of lawyers, accountants and financial analysts in shaping the EU agenda on CSR
This contribution focuses on the relation between CSR ideas and policies. On the basis of a series of interviews and documents’ analyses, it identifies three professional élites - activist-lawyers; financial analysts; and international accountants - as the “architects” of the current debate on CSR policies, in the EU context. The author questions why and how they succeeded in shaping the public debate on business social and environmental accountability. He claims that their views on CSR are underpinned by rather different underlying rationales, coming from Law, Finance, and Accountancy, and by distinct professional interests. The chapter shows how these actors used these arguments to push their (partially) competing agendas and professional claims. In particular, the paper focuses on the impact of these professions on the European regulatory debate on social and environmental reporting, as a lens to study these distinct approaches. The conclusions highlight the need for a more reflexive sociological approach to CSR, which would reveal and openly discuss the co-existence - under the officialized story - of different rationales and interests. As different ideas about what CSR is would have major social, economic and environmental implications, it also suggests that advances in CSR depend also from the ability of law- and policy-makers to design a regulatory framework that would reconcile these different instances.
Chapter accepted for publication in collection to be published by Springer. Publication details not yet available.
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