Corporate Responsibility in Environment Protection Concerning Analysis of Freedom of Trade
by Dr. Christabell Joseph, Associate Professor, School of Law,
Christ University, Bangalore.
Globalization has had an effect on the effectiveness of justice in countries all over the world. It connects and disseminates legal developments and debates taking place in one region of the world to another. The emergence of laws and concepts linked to Human Rights is the best example of this. The right to live in a healthy environment is one such human right and constitutional right too. With judicial interpretations and judicial activism, this right got new dimensions, and the scope also widened. The advancement of technology and opening of the economy led to much trade, and consequently, corporates started to exploit the ecology. Damage to the environment is directly damaging to life, and thus the need arose to regulate the corporate actions causing harm to the environment. Many international treaties were signed, conferences were concluded, and thereby domestic legislations were enacted. Then came the concept of corporate social responsibility towards the environment. While on the other hand, the other fundamental right is the freedom to trade, which is entrusted to the corporate houses. Now there is a conflict between two rights as to which right will prevail and the extent to which restrictions can be imposed upon the latter right to protect the environment.
Thus, the research paper aims to study the approach of the judiciary harmonizing the freedom of trade of corporations and environmental protection as a restriction for the interest of the general public analysing and referring various case laws and instances such as the ban of single-use plastics and orders imposing fine or restraining the carrying on business for the protection of our environment. This paper also mentions the various environmental protection laws and corporate responsibility towards the environment in general. Further, it also cites the comparative study of the freedom of trade of India with the USA and Australia and its restrictions. Hence after analysing all the scenarios, there are a few suggestions made that, if incorporated, may turn the environment protection regime much more effective and efficient and can help in fixing the corporate liability more concretely.
Keywords: Environmental Health, Globalization, Corporate Social Responsibility,