Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral part of many companies' business strategy. A detailed analysis of 579 RTAs, including 305 agreements currently in force and notified to the WTO (as of December 2020), reveals that a limited but increasing number of RTAs, namely 65 agreements, refer explicitly to CSR. These CSR-related provisions are particularly heterogeneous in terms of location in the RTA, language, scope and commitments. An increasing number of RTAs incorporate an article dedicated to CSR in different chapters, including on investment, labour or environment. Most CSR-related provisions are formulated in best endeavour language. These provisions promote the voluntary adoption and respect of CSR, including internationally recognized CSR principles standards and guidelines. Building on provisions included in some bilateral investment treaties (BITs), only a couple of recent RTAs have expanded the scope of CSR-related provisions by requiring investors to make their best efforts to comply with some of the principles established under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Regional Trade Agreements Corporate social responsibility Labour Environment Inclusiveness