Published 16 October 2019
Laws already exist which govern space, as do corporate social responsibility (CSR) guidelines for companies operating on Earth and a growing movement pushing for legal clarity and a license to operate, inter alia concerning property rights in space. Until now, no effort has been made to analyse the mutual implications of these developments and consequently to produce CSR guidelines based on them for space. Terrestrial CSR has evolved to fill gaps in national legal and policy frameworks by formulating principles and guidance, sometimes based on soft law instruments. This function of remedying legal uncertainties makes CSR an ideal tool and approach for defining and addressing responsible corporate behaviour in space. CSR Guidelines for Space ought to help public and private actors alike, eg achieve the sustainable commercial exploitation of space resources. In this paper, the analysis is based on international space law, international law and existing terrestrial CSR guidelines, in order to understand what basis and direction they may provide, by extrapolation, and with the necessary modifications to the space environment, for a new set of soft CSR Guidelines for space industries. The point of departure is that recent developments in international space law, international law, and CSR seem up until now to have been running on somewhat parallel trajectories, without consideration of the mutual implications of these disciplines, or what should happen when they intersect.
This paper will be part of the OGEL Special Issue on "Social Licence to Operate (SLO) in the Extractive and Energy Sectors". More information here www.ogel.org/news.asp?key=571