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, Leader of Business and Human Rights Thematic Area

Phone: + 46 46 222 12 43

Radu has a background in human rights law, specializing in the business and human rights area, with a focus on regulatory and compliance issues raised by multinational enterprises in developing countries. His main research interest is the protection of human rights through economic relations. Some questions that have engaged Radu for a long time are:

  • How does the international human rights system accommodate and interact with the fragmented, overlapping and dynamic landscape of responsible business conduct?
  • How does the shift from corporate voluntarism to hard law happen and how do companies affect the emergence, institutionalization, and diffusion of norms of social responsibility?
  • Can complex regulatory regimes that reject the ‘command-and-control’ approach deliver on their promise to achieve corporate compliance and respect for human rights?

Radu’s research draws on economic law, corporate governance, risk management, regulatory pluralism and global governance. He has also conducted field work in mining areas in Ghana and Peru. His current focus is on the EU green transition, and the impacts of this legislative framework on human rights and environmental protection globally through EU value chains.

Radu is an Associate Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights, the director of the Research and Education Department, and the thematic leader for the Business and Human Rights area at RWI. He is a Doctor of Law (PhD) and a Docent in the Faculty of Law at Lund University. Radu contributes to RWI capacity-strengthening programs for academics, businesses and/or governmental actors in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Estonia and Belarus, and Asia region. Since 2007 he has taught and supervised at Lund University’s Faculty of Law and more recently at the Economics Faculty. Radu values opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines, to explore new linkages between economics and human rights, in education, research, and outreach.

For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile: 


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