Assessing the applicability of an environmental justice framework to corporate social responsibility in the Canadian extractives industry
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The Canadian extractives industry faces uneven adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practice, and unclear roles and responsibilities for corporate, government, and civil society actors. This is resulting in unjust corporate activity in areas of operation, especially in the developing world where drivers of CSR are weaker. The goal of this report is to describe the applicability of an environmental justice (EJ) framework in addressing these issues of CSR, in the hopes of providing a jumping-off point for the industry-wide adoption of a universal CSR framework which ensures that justice is done to all relevant stakeholders in extractives activities. Through dcument analysis of the English-language literature on CSR, EJ, and associated actors, including an illustrative case study of the Marlin mine in Guatemala, it was determined that environmental justice is well-suited to describing failings of CSR practice. Given this, and the simplicity of the EJ framework, it is proposed that EJ could potentially guide development and implementation of future CSR programs. The justifications for and limitations of CSR will be described, followed by an illustration of the applicability of EJ to CSR practice using the Marlin mine case. Incentives for participation by government, corporate, and civil society actors will then be outlined, as well as the proposed roles of each of these sectors in CSR planning, implementation and enforcement.