How international investment agreements can better contribute to sustainable development by reflecting the U.N. Global Compact principles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This chapter proposes that social clauses within International Investments Agreements shall explicitly refer to the Global Compact initiative to be more effective at engaging foreign investors with the sustainable development policies of recipient States. Therefore, it analyzes the interaction between investment treaties and sustainability, evidencing an ongoing trend aimed at including corporate social responsibility provisions into these instruments, in order to address social goals from the perspective of foreign investors and Transnational Corporations. Design/methodology/approach: The argument of this chapter relies mostly on literature review, but it also takes into account evidence provided by some selected International Investment Agreements. It is out of these sources that I infer that the Global Compact initiative can contribute the most to engage investors with the promotion of sustainable development goals within States recipient of Foreign Direct Investment. Findings: The main finding of this chapter is that labor and environmental provisions in International Investment Agreements should make explicit reference to the U.N. Global Compact initiative. Certainly, because of its universality, legitimacy, and flexible implementation, this initiative constitutes the best approach for helping host States to achieve their sustainable development goals without losing their allure for foreign investors. Practical implications: Although there are some International Investment Agreements whose labor and environmental clauses call for the voluntary adoption of corporate social responsibility provisions among foreign investors and Transnational Corporations, none of them makes explicit reference to the U.N. Global Compact initiative nor reflects the universal scope of its 10 principles. Thus, this chapter could serve as a departing point to discuss the inclusion of the U.N. Global Compact principles within International Investment Agreements. Originality/value of the chapter: Even though there is literature about the inclusion of instruments of corporate social responsibility in International Investment Agreements, the originality of this chapter consists in approaching this subject matter from the perspective of the U.N. Global Compact initiative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-157
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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