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Corporate social responsibility awareness essential in an independent Scotland

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Companies in Scotland will come under increasing pressure to demonstrate they know how to behave responsibly, a pressure that will be compounded if Scotland gains independence, a University of Stirling law lecturer says.

Dr Rebecca Zahn’s forecast about corporate social responsibility is made in light of what she regards as “the Scottish political leaders’ continual emphasis on and commitment to making Scotland fairer, investing in the green economy and ensuring regeneration and development is sustainable.”

“Over the last ten years, corporate social responsibility has become highly topical and the general public is becoming increasingly aware of companies’ responsibilities to their stakeholders.  This puts pressure on companies to ensure their products and services – whether in the food and drink, oil, chemical, technology, financial, retail or hospitality industries – are made, managed, sourced and delivered responsibly, fairly and ethically.”

She adds: “If Alex Salmond is pushing for an independent Scotland known for being a clean, responsible state, he will want to ensure businesses are acting responsibly.  It will be imperative that senior managers employ professionals who understand how organisations are held to account and can advise on how to avoid liability.”

To address this need, Stirling’s Dr Zahn is launching Scotland’s very first corporate social responsibility master’s programme in September, aimed at both legal and business professionals.  The LL.M. in Corporate Social Responsibility will offer a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic, by combining modules delivered by Stirling Law School and Stirling Management School.      

Commenting on the new programme, Dr Zahn says: “The demand for employees with a specialised legal knowledge in corporate governance and social responsibility will grow rapidly over the next few years, particularly as various international voluntary codes of conduct – which exist to put pressure on companies – may well be replaced by binding legislation.” 

The University of Stirling’s LL.M. in Corporate Social Responsibility launches in September 2013.  More about the programme here


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