Disclosure Regulation and Sustainability: Legalisation and Governance Implications
In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Chapter 37.
Posted: 8 May 2019 Last revised: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 6, 2019
Companies’ sustainable and socially responsible footprint, especially multi-national corporations, is increasingly scrutinised by policy-makers, stakeholders and the media. However, regulatory policy to promote socially responsible and sustainable behaviour at companies remains at an emerging state as the minimally intrusive regulatory instrument of disclosure regulation seems to be the preferred policy. Disclosure regulation merely compels information to be released so that next steps can be taken by interested recipients, whether they be the market or stakeholders. This Chapter explores disclosure regulation introduced at the EU level transposed in the UK, as well as the UK’s own initiatives such as the modern slavery statement that large businesses have to publicly disclose in relation to their supply chains. It is argued that disclosure regulation does not necessarily foster deep self-reflection and fundamental changes in corporate behaviour, as corporations’ responses to compliance with disclosure regulation vary significantly.
Keywords: non-financial disclosure, corporate transparency, modern slavery statement, conflict minerals report, human rights due diligence
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