Company Reporting of Environmental, Social and Gender Matters: Limitations, Barriers, and Changing Paradigms

In Creating Corporate Sustainability. Gender as an Agent for Change, Beate Sjåfjell and Irene Lynch Fannon (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2018

University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2018-09

Posted: 16 May 2018

See all articles by Gill North

Gill North

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School

Date Written: May 16, 2018

Abstract

This chapter highlights the limitations of reporting frameworks and barriers faced by stakeholders seeking useful sustainability information. It examines the accepted rationales for company reporting regimes, the minimal rights stakeholders have to information, the political nature of reporting policy, and the variable quality of publicly available information. It finds that existing rationales and theories supporting corporate reporting regimes no longer reflect reasonable societal expectations because they are motivated by economic and commercial concerns and primarily benefit shareholders. The chapter draws attention to corporate communication structures that provide differentiated information through private and public channels. It also highlights concerns when sustainability disclosures are superficial or are released as a public relations exercise and suggests such reporting reflects the compromises made during legislative processes and the open-ended nature of many reporting rules. Whilst the author acknowledges the limitations of disclosure policy, she highlights positive trends and concludes that disclosure regimes should to be structured to work as well as possible.

Keywords: company reporting, disclosure, sustainability, diversity, engagement, communication

Suggested Citation

North, Gill, Company Reporting of Environmental, Social and Gender Matters: Limitations, Barriers, and Changing Paradigms (May 16, 2018). In Creating Corporate Sustainability. Gender as an Agent for Change, Beate Sjåfjell and Irene Lynch Fannon (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2018; University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2018-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3179396

Gill North (Contact Author)

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School ( email )

221 Burwood Highway
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Burwood, Victoria 3125, Victoria 3125
Australia

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