Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 May 2021
Abstract: This chapter revisits the significance of responsive regulation for theories of compliance. It shows how responsive regulation’s theory of compliance recognises both multiple motivations for compliance and plural actors who help negotiate and construct compliance. It argues that responsive regulation theory implies responsive compliance and that this can help build possibilities for deliberative democratic responsibility and accountability of both businesses and regulators. This is the idea that I previously labelled the meta-regulation of the ‘open corporation’. This chapter concludes that since business activity and indeed human development now face the existential challenge of socio-ecological disruption and collapse in which profit-oriented commercial activity is a significant driver, theories of compliance need to expand to concern themselves with how whole markets and industries can be made responsive to both social and ecological embeddedness. Regulatory compliance scholars need to pay attention to how networks of interacting business, government and civil society and social movement actors can influence business activity profoundly enough to shift the very nature of ‘business as usual’. The chapter therefore proposes the need for ‘ecological compliance’ as a development of Ayres and Braithwaite’s analysis of compliance.