Reporting regulations and human rights: Towards meaningful information and social change in global value chains

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 –

Project owner:

Radu Mares

Radu Mares

Research Director, Associate Professor, Head of Business and Human Rights Thematic Area

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 43

Radu Mares is senior researcher at Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights. He has Doctor of Law (2006) and Associate Professor (Reader/Docent) (2012) degrees from the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden.

He is specialised in the area of business and human rights, with a focus on multinational enterprises and global supply chains. His work combines transnational law, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility perspectives.

Mares has edited The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – Foundations and Implementation (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012) and authored The Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibilities (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2008). He has written about the relation between law and self-regulation, on corporate responsibilities in the mining industry and supply chain contexts, and on regulatory aspects raised by the corporate ‘responsibility to respect’ human rights. Recent publications include ‘De-centring human rights from the international order of states The alignment and interaction of transnational policy channels’ (Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 2016) and ‘“Respect” human rights: Concept and convergence’ (Law, Business and Human Rights – Bridging the Gap, Bird, Cahoy, Prenkert (eds.), 2014).

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), supply chain management, multistakeholder partnerships, transnational law, international economic law, regulatory theory, good governance.

Selected Publications