Sustainability, Accountability and Corporate Governance: Exploring Multinationals' Reporting Practices

Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 1-15, 2008

18 Pages Posted: 2 May 2006 Last revised: 18 Nov 2014

See all articles by Ans Kolk

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Abstract

Recent years have seen a rapid increase in accountability pressures on particularly large global companies. The increased call for transparency comes from two different angles, which show some (potential) convergence in terms of topics and audiences: accountability requirements in the context of corporate governance, which expand to staff-related, ethical aspects; and sustainability reporting that has broadened from environment only to social and financial issues. This article examines to what extent and how current sustainability reporting of Fortune Global 250 companies incorporates corporate governance aspects. Many multinationals, particularly in Europe and Japan, have started to pay attention to board supervision and structuring of sustainability responsibilities, to compliance, ethics and external verification. While detailed disclosures are not yet common, some notable practices can be found. Underlying dilemmas and complexities for managers in dealing with accountability to shareholders and stakeholders, and the role of auditors, are indicated.

Keywords: corporate governance, sustainability, accountability, multinationals, corporate social responsibility, reporting, disclosure

JEL Classification: F23, G34, G38, H79, K32, L20, M14, M41

Suggested Citation

Kolk, Ans, Sustainability, Accountability and Corporate Governance: Exploring Multinationals' Reporting Practices. Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 1-15, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=899852

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.anskolk.eu

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