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Environmental policy globalisation means better reporting

New research suggests that government involvement in multilateral organisations is a core influence on corporate reporting

A recent Harvard Business School working paper by Christopher Marquis and Michael Toffel – The Globalisation of Corporate Environmental Disclosure: Accountability or Greenwashing? – seeks to identify the key country and organisational determinants of corporate environmental reporting and to examine how pressures from governments and civil society influence reporting.

Marquis and Toffel note that a company’s relative size, visibility and environmental impacts may all increase the pressures to report. But their most striking conclusion is the apparent importance of governments’ involvement in international governmental organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, and the World Meteorological Organisation.

Their research suggests that the quality of corporate reporting is higher for companies that are headquartered in countries whose governments that are more “embedded” in global regimes, where this is  measured by the number of memberships each government holds in 100...

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