Companies operating in multinational markets face an ever-increasing and complex set of obligations, ranging from laws established by governments to the expectations (and criticisms) of investors, customers, neighbors, and environmental and advocacy groups, all in the context of highly variable cultural, social, political, and market situations. Standards can provide a practical governance framework, as well as substantive guidance, to help companies successfully manage these obligations and challenges. This article outlines the environmental compliance and governance challenges facing multinational companies, and then discusses how extra-legal standards can provide a disciplined management framework for achieving compliance and executing subject or sector-specific guidance that supports sustainability, environmental social governance (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies.
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