OECD Working Papers on International Investment

1815-1957 (online)
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Selected studies on international investment and investment policy prepared for use within the OECD. They address such issues as investment agreements, dispute settlement, fair and equitable treatment, most favored nation treatment, and corruption.

Investment Treaty Law, Sustainable Development and Responsible Business Conduct: A Fact Finding Survey You or your institution have access to this content

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Kathryn Gordon, Joachim Pohl1, Marie Bouchard1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

23 July 2014
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Investment treaty law – which is scattered over 3 000 international investment agreements adopted over a period of 50 years – is a crucial but complex basis for regulating international investment flows. Investment treaties are often thought to be silent on investors’ responsibilities to host societies and on their contributions to sustainable development. The present paper establishes a factual and statistical basis for understanding the relationship between investment treaty law and governments’ ability to advance the sustainable development agenda and promote responsible business conduct. The paper presents survey results of 2 107 investment treaties and 1 113 treaty-based arbitration cases in order to shed light on how (if at all) labour, environmental, human rights and anti-corruption considerations are referred to in investment treaties and investor-state arbitration cases based on them.
investor state arbitration, corruption, bribery, labour law, ISDS, investment treaties, environmental law
JEL Classification:
  • F23: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / Multinational Firms ; International Business
  • F53: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy / International Agreements and Observance ; International Organizations
  • K11: Law and Economics / Basic Areas of Law / Property Law
  • K33: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / International Law
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