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Ethics Codes, Corporate Responsibility in a World of Rising Globalization

Professor Wesley Cragg, Principle Director, Voluntary Codes Research Group and Director and George R. Gardiner Programme in Business Ethics Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, is a leading international expert whose work, available in his books and on the Corporate Social Responsibility website of York University provide a comprehensive set of perspectives.  The two major publications were produced as part of a five-year project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council led by Dr. Cragg.


The research project was a response to the phenomenon of globalization which has altered in significant ways the tools available to regulate international commerce.  One result of globalization has been the emergence of international codes, norms, principles, guidelines and standards of ethical and responsible business conduct. In compiling the Compendium of Ethics Codes, the goal was to identify and assemble the most significant and influential codes and other instruments of corporate responsibility.

The comprehensive volume looks at these developments with particular focus on five topic areas:

  • respect for human rights,
  • treatment of labor,
  • bribery and corruption,
  • environmental protection, and
  • international finance and the control of money laundering


Dr Cragg states at the outset:

“Globalization has altered in significant ways the tools available to regulate international commerce. One result is the emergence of ethics codes, codes of responsible conduct, and best practice codes designed to win adherence to internationally acceptable norms of conduct on the part of corporations and other organizations interacting in the global marketplace."

He continues: “What is significant about these developments is the emerging emphasis on self-regulation as the primary method for raising standards of corporate conduct. The contributors examine the reasons for the emergence of ethical codes and the phenomenon of self-regulation within the context of globalization and look at the role of national governments, international government institutions and other international organizations in shaping and enforcing them. They also study the implications of these developments for corporate governance and the changing roles of national and international institutions in the regulation of international commerce.”

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