The Nature of Corporates’ Social Responsibility Obligation: An Analytical Legal Study

Dr. Alaa Yaqoub Yousif
Associate Professor of Commercial Law
College of Law, University of Sharjah, UAE


Corporate social responsibility is one of the legal developments in UAE legislation. The economic growth of countries and corporations which adopt the concepts of globalization and transcontinental corporations has made it insufficient for corporations to only prevent causing harm to society. Instead, corporations are required to contribute positively and directly to the development of society, besides their goals for profit. By adopting such social goals, businesses will demonstrate social responsibility. However, the concept of corporate social responsibility is quite vague, which has affected determining the legal nature of commitment to it. While social responsibility has been traditionally associated with volunteering, it is prone to regulatory legislators to interfere in regulating them. This raises a legal and practical problem as to corporations’ commitment to social responsibility. In fact, it is questionable whether this is an ethical or a legal obligation. This research paper is divided into two sections, in relation to two major arguments and legislative approaches. The first section discusses the idea that social responsibility is an ethical obligation, while the second section discusses the matter as a legal obligation.
The research concluded with recommendations regarding the harmonization between the Commercial Companies Act and subsidiary laws. The ultimate aim will be of the application of corporate social responsibility to all corporations and creating a standard definition of the concept in each of the laws. Moreover, it is suggested that the definition of the concept should be expanded beyond voluntary contributions and donations. It is also recommended that the ideas of ethical and legal obligation be combined to ensure a minimal commitment to social responsibility.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Corporations, Corporate Citizenship, Society, Stakeholders.

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