Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Laws




Christopher C Nicholls


This thesis considers the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Canadian banking sector. Although the relevance of CSR continues to be debated, this analysis starts from the position that CSR is now a fact of life for modern banks and tests whether Canadian banks are demonstrating CSR behavior through their adoption of the Equator Principles: a series of guidelines on the management of social and environmental issues that banks voluntarily commit to follow in their project financing activities. This thesis concludes that examples of CSR behavior can be observed as Canadian banks continue to define the scope of their involvement with the EPs. However, this conclusion is tempered by the finding that self-interested business motivations are also behind EPs adoption. Any expectations that we might arrive at “socially responsible” banks should therefore be tempered by the reality that CSR has yet to gain universal implementation in Canadian banking.