Requiring companies to be transparent empowers stakeholders and forces companies into processes of self-reflection that could improve their decision-making. Recent transparency laws require multinational enterprises to report on how they manage their impacts on human rights globally. However these laws cannot compel companies to improve their conduct. There remains uncertainty about what information is meaningful and how exactly mandating transparency achieves improved corporate conduct. The project explains whether and how mandating disclosure can drive social change to protect human rights.
The project takes as a case study the recently adopted EU Directive on non-financial reporting (2014). All EU states will adopt new laws by 2017 and 6000 companies will report in 2018. The project will produce an empirical and original explanation of the Directive that informs policy debates, corporate practice and scientific work. It offers a precise ‘baseline’ that researchers in coming years can rely on to analyse whether expectations were fulfilled and the law proved effective.
Project period: 2017 –