Labour and Human Rights Disclosures: How successful the Global Reporting Initiative has been in enhancing comparability and transparency?
Speaker: Dr Sepideh Parsa, Middlesex University
This paper critically evaluates the details of the claimed compliance with the labour (LA) and human rights (HR) performance indicators, as set out by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), by the world¹s largest multinational companies. The GRI indicators are intentionally > designed to a level of detail to allow comparison of the reporting practices by companies around the globe as well as enhancing corporate transparency. While LA indicators cover a range of labour issues related to companies¹ internal workforce under their direct control, HR indicators deal with external workforce whom are not under the direct control of companies (i.e. in their supply chains). Under a resource based view approach, we argue that employees are an inimitable resource that companies, depending on their institutional environments (as argued under varieties of capitalism), can utilize to enhance their corporate values. Reporting on employees and their related issues allow companies to project a healthy and legitimate image, enabling them to operate and compete globally. The paper concentrates on a sample of the Forbes 250 and the information they reported on the two indicators. We found that on average companies reported more on their internal workforce than on their external workforce. Overall companies had explicitly over-claimed the extent of their compliance with all the indicators under both categories. Despite claiming full disclosures, a close examination of the information revealed that the majority of companies had not recognised and hence had failed to adhere to many of the compilations outlined for each indicator. More specially, compilations that had outlined detailed information, requiring quantitative measures or procedural type information had been ignored. Instead companies had focused and reported on general information. While there can be a range of internal and external reasons for this, a more general question is raised as how successful the GRI has been in achieving its original comparability and transparency goal in relation to employee related issues.
All welcome - Lunch provided at 1.00pm
Centre for Research into Sustainability (CRIS)