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New Global Compact Network UK Report Explores Pros and Cons of Corporate ESG Transparency

Published 04-21-20

Submitted by UN Global Compact Network UK

Today the Global Compact Network UK publishes their briefing ‘Debating Disclosure: the pros and cons of corporate transparency’.
Businesses are facing increasing demands from their stakeholders, especially consumers, investors, and regulators, to be more transparent about their business practices and their exposure to risks related to their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance.

Initiatives that rank companies’ performance based on information in the public domain, such as the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign, and the World Benchmarking Alliance, are creating new incentives for leading companies to be transparent about their ESG performance.

Pushing against the trend for more transparency are the costs of data collection, requirements for assurance, exposure to legal jeopardy, and legitimate perceptions of reputational risk.

The lines between mandatory and voluntary, compliance and non-compliance, financial and non-financial are all blurring.

These changes in the corporate reporting landscape and, more generally, in the context of sustainability information disclosure, are creating new conflicts within companies as different departments try to reconcile their sometimes very different views of the costs and benefits of transparency.

‘Debating Disclosure: the pros and cons of corporate transparency explores the tension within companies regarding their reporting and disclosure on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to build a better understanding of the risk/return profile of transparency and thereby help companies to balance competing interests.

Download the briefing here:
‘Debating Disclosure: the pros and cons of corporate transparency’  is the second publication by the Global Compact Network UK addressing critical sustainability issues.

Read their 2019 briefing ‘Climate Change, A Human Rights Issue’ here:
Launched in 2000 as a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact provides a framework for developing more sustainable and responsible businesses. Today, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 10,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks. It is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Its mission is to mobilise a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world we want.
The UN Global Compact Network UK delivers an extensive programme of activity to support UK-based UN Global Compact participating organisations. The Network promotes practical sustainability leadership, shares knowledge across sectors, and actively shapes the responsible business environment to create a world we want to live and do business in.

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