Utrecht Law Review (Jun 2018)
The Accountability and Corporate Social Responsibility of Multinational Corporations for Transgressions in Host States through International Investment Law
Traditionally, International Investment Agreements (IIAs) do not include obligations for investors concerning human rights, international labour standards and environmental protection standards owed to a host state. IIAs were designed to protect and promote foreign investors and their investments. However, with the inclusion of broader non-economic objectives, i.e. sustainable development objectives, in a new generation of IIAs, the content of investment treaties in terms of the rights and obligations of states and investors has been changing. There has been a shift towards recognizing the responsibility and accountability of investors, which is observable in a number of recent IIAs and in several decisions by investment tribunals. This article analyses the legal implications of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions found in a number of IIAs in terms of investor responsibility and accountability. Furthermore, the article discusses the obligations of investors under human rights treaties and the role of the investor’s conduct in deciding on substantive investment protection guarantees, such as the fair and equitable treatment (FET) of investors.