Centre for Ethics and Law


Corporate Social Responsibility and the Provision of Public Goods by Multinational Enterprises

29 February 2012, 12:00 pm

Sarianna Lundan

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UCL Centre for Ethics and Law



On 29 February 2012, UCL Centre for Ethics and Law invited Sarianna M. Lundan, Professor of Business and Economics at University of Bremen to present on her current research.  Professor Lundan shed new light on the necessary connections between economics, law, politics and corporate social responsibility through her presentation on corporate social responsibility and provision of public goods by multinational enterprises.  The event also featured critical discussion by Professor Charlotte Villiers from the University of Bristol.  Lundan, through an economic lens, explored how multinational enterprises expanding into less developed countries obtain public goods. 

These public goods, such as education, health, community infrastructure and other related elements, would usually be provided by governmental entities as an integral part of the production of the private goods which attracted the MNE to the emerging market.  Lundan proceeded to discuss what MNEs do in less developed countries where public provisions are not provided for by the nation state and not available on a contractual basis, and in what cases MNEs step in to provide these public goods.  What Lundan prescribed follows the process described by John Ruggie, UN Special Representative on business and human rights, of “Protect, Respect, Remedy”. By engaging in due diligence and involving the local communities and local NGOs, MNEs can reduce transaction costs and provide necessary public goods, while still adding core value to the business.  Audience discussions centred on the societal role of the firm and how the firm can learn to function in different environments.  What ultimately was called for was a rethink both of governance solutions and the interface between corporations and ever-expanding global society.  

Summary of event


Professor Sarianna M Lundan
Professor of Law, University of Bremen


Professor Charlotte Villers
University of Bristol

Chaired by Dr Iris Chiu (UCL Laws)