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The good governance of transnational private relationships

Towards the realisation of social sustainability
PhD ceremony:J.L.J. (Jilles) Hazenberg, PhD
When:April 16, 2018
Supervisors:prof. dr. A.L.B. (Aurelia) Colombi Ciacchi, prof. dr. A.J. (Andrej Janko) Zwitter
Where:Academy building RUG
The good governance of transnational private relationships

Central in this thesis is the question to what extent the good governance of transnational corporations can be informed by a concern for social sustainability. The first part argues that the concepts of good governance and social sustainability lack a normative grounding on which governance mechanisms can base themselves. This normative ground is best conceptualised in terms of human rights and proposed human rights conception gives guidance in assigning responsibilities to different actors. The second part studies the practice of and context within which transnational corporations operate through two cases studied light of the previous conclusions. The first case concerns the growing power of tech-corporations through the collection of personal data. These corporations threaten social sustainability by undermining fundamental rights. Simultaneously, they also positively affect social sustainability by enabling communication and innovation. The second case delves into transnational supply-chains through the example of the production of Apple’s iPhone in China. In these supply-chains fundamental rights are continuously undermined. However, working conditions are often better than in comparable jobs in the local economy. Here too there are positive and negative effects. The third part brings together the conclusions and conceptualises legitimate governance mechanisms to regulate transnational private relationships. In concludes that such governance mechanisms should, firstly, be formulated at the level of transnational civil society. Secondly, that in formulating these mechanisms all stakeholder should be represented on the basis of equality. Thirdly, these mechanisms should not be incorporated in to positive law but should rather function as aspirational soft law norms.