Protecting Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources by Corporate Social Responsibility

Protecting Traditional Knowledge Associated with Genetic Resources by Corporate Social Responsibility

Noriko Yajima (EcoLomics International, Canada, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9814-7.ch076
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Abstract

The problems to establish equitable benefit sharing of Traditional Knowledge (TK) associated with Genetic Resources (GRs) have been one of the main discussions in international negotiations. This chapter analyses how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could contribute to international organizations, national governments, and the private sector protecting TK associated with GRs in indigenous and local communities. This research uses the concept of the United Nations Triple Bottom Line Approach, which promotes balance among economic, environmental, and social imperatives towards sustainable development. This chapter illustrates the responsibility of international organizations by providing legally binding instruments. It also compares different national governments' responses to protect TK associated with GRs. Then, the chapter proposes that Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) could be the key to improving contradictions between legal and voluntary instruments in local communities and national and international governments. The analysis suggests that CSR is coherent with PPPs and might generate environmental, economic, and socio-economic challenges in the private and public sectors.
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Conceptual Frameworks

This section clarifies the conceptual and analytical frameworks of this chapter, which represents the research question: how could CSR contribute to international organizations, national governments and the private sector to be coherent towards fair benefit sharing of TK associated with GRs in indigenous and local communities? There have been varieties and ample of literature of international regimes and governance systems, which include the broader dialogue initiated by those who have been developing the new institutionalism in international relations study as well as public international laws and CSR. The conceptual framework also explains the discussions on the new ideas of the key terminologies used in this study.

The definition of CSR in this study uses the UN approach, which defines CSR as “a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders” (UNIDO, n.d., para.1). The other key definitions are also based on the UN approach, which have been globally used. The concept of “sustainable development” was introduced in the 1987 Word Commission of Environment and Development (the WCED) known as the Brundtland Report, entitled Our Common Future. The Brundtland Report stated, “Sustainable development is development that meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (the WCED, 1987, p.43).

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