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CRIS Reseach Seminar: Dr Sepideh Parsa

26/02/2014 (13:00-15:00)
Centre for Research into Sustainability (CRIS)

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)


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