Henry Thoreau once mused, “What we call wildness is a civilization other than our own.” Understanding other countries’ national mores, standards, and priorities as they relate to human rights, the environment, labor practices, and other social and governance issues used to be the purview of the inquisitive scholar or traveler. For litigators representing business interests in the “wilderness” of other nations, in contrast, it was solely corporation law that dictated behavior. Little attention was paid to the positive or negative effects a foreign organization might have on the local population, rule of law, or ecosystem until the idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) took root.
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