Private Global Business Regulation



The last few decades have witnessed a surge of private actor business regulation, predominantly in the international arena. Private actors, such as corporations, NGOs, and professional associations have not only created a wealth of rules, norms, and standards to guide and constrain international business, but have also been involved in setting up a variety of enforcement practices and institutions. Examples range from environmental consumer-oriented initiatives such as the FSC-certification scheme for timber and public shaming by Greenpeace to investor-oriented accountancy rules.
Although these developments have been well documented, important questions remain about the consequences of these arrangements for global sustainability, safety, and security. One important set of questions pertains to whether private-actor business regulation is effective, under what conditions, and whether it is equally effective in various fields of regulation. There is also a host of questions pertaining to the relationship between private and public forms of regulation and enforcement in the international and national arenas. Private parties’ informal actions may strengthen the enforcement of public regulation, but private arrangements can also replace or take over public regulation, thus eroding the possibility of democratic oversight. Can public and private regulation be mutually reinforcing?
Contact information:
Dr. Frank Wijen