Intrinsically Binding Norms as Trailblazers for Change

Intrinsically binding norms are non-legally binding norms which due to their specific normative design develop a high degree of effectiveness.
They can be true drivers for change, as shown by the example of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights:
They were
– fundamental in shaping the concept of “corporate responsibility to respect human rights”
– induced change in the behavior of non-state actors, and
– found their way into national laws (e.g. French Duty of Vigilance Law).
And the major paradigm shift they represent might one day be incorporated into public international law.
However, the concept of intrinsically binding norms does NOT change the dichotomy between law and non-law. Extending the notion of law towards the inclusion of extra-legal normative activity would mean diluting the important role of law. Intrinsically binding norms and law interact in many ways, which can best be analyzed in a pluralist understanding of today’s global regulatory framework.