Soft Law Summit

Activating Industry Self-Regulation

In Partnership With: Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law Center for Law, Science, and Innovation


Please Note: This event took place on October 17, 2023, in Arlington, VA.

It's Time for Industry to Lead

Industry self-regulation has long been an effective option for business to solve its own challenges, address its own shortcomings, discipline participants and supply chain partners, and help achieve important governance/policy objectives in the most informed and efficient manner possible. And yet the potential for broad-based industry-led solutions to achieve policy goals is often overlooked.  


Awareness of industry self-regulation may be low, but its potential to improve our society is high. 


During the inaugural Soft Law Summit, the Center for Industry Self-Regulation called upon industry to take a greater leadership role on the many challenges that face society and engage alternative, agile, responsive governance structures rooted in soft law to address the challenging regulatory issues of today. 







At the first Soft Law Summit, attendees: 


  • Examined and evaluated specific scenarios where co-regulation and industry self-regulation have been deployed around the world, across industries

  • Discussed what has worked and what has not worked, including the effectiveness of pledge and certification programs 

  • Identified the ideal pre-conditions for effective industry self-regulation including the tools and mechanisms for improving the accountability, credibility, and public trust of such programs 

  • Mapped out the potential for industry self-regulation going forward to address emerging technologies and the unique challenges they present, including artificial intelligence 


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Seven papers were presented as part of the Soft Law Summit and used to discuss the practical application and potential of soft law and industry self-regulation. 


AI, Medical Devices, & Soft Law Governance



Adam Thierer

R Street Institute

Soft Law Functions in the International Governance of AI



Wendell Wallach, Anka Reuel, Anja Kaspersen

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics




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