The existing rules and standards on corporate social responsibility can best be described as a hybrid legal architecture, where various regulatory approaches maintain a friendly coexistence. This type of multilevel rule-making is sometimes perceived to be complicated and not very effective because it is often said to leave some areas of economic activity unregulated and, in any case, unenforced. Given this difficulty, it becomes evident that the interaction between the different regulatory strategies currently in place, ranging from self-regulation to government intervention, has to be analyzed in more detail. Scholars have often argued that there is a governance gap because public international law only provides for certain rights, but no obligations, for transnational companies. What scholars sometimes miss, however, is that the law, although indirectly, does in fact already regulate corporate behavior with regard to human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.
In this article, I identify and describe various monitoring, enforcement and transparency mechanisms through which international soft law standards are backed up by national public and private law rules. The importance of this is that it will help us better understand what the role of the law is in the status quo with regard to corporate social responsibility.European Business Law Review