Laura Marchegiani

Reflections on Non-Financial Information Disclosure, Communication and Stake- holder Trust

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Company Law, Non-Financial Information, Stakeholders, Sustainable Corporate Governance, Advertising & Consumer Protection.

The essay starts from the reconstruction of the multi-faceted framework of rethinking and redefining corporate purpose, then moving on to highlight the techniques which the legal system has mainly relied on, until now, to promote the objectives of sustainability. The system, in fact, rather than prescribing obligations of conduct, focuses on the provision of transparency duties, aiming to favor a race to the top in socially responsible behavior of undertakings. By placing trust in the duties of transparency as tools to promote responsible behavior, the European Commission has provided detailed Guidelines that should inspire the NFRD’s revision, insisting on an increasingly detailed disclosure of non-financial information. It shows the intent to make these obligations more stringent and promises to pursue a legislative initiative that should include legal obligations for directors aiming to encourage sustainable management. Even if it is in doubt that this path can, at least at the present stage, profoundly modify companies’ objectives, undertakings are enhancing their sustainability communication to the public, aiming to achieve social legitimacy. The fact that companies use open-access tools, such as websites, to disclose non-financial information, blurs the boundaries between commercial advertising and non-financial statements exposure. Therefore, in conclusion, it is crucial to be inspired by rigorous common principles in the two sides of communication, towards information users and towards the public at large, if we want to avoid the greenwashing phenomenon, which represents the greatest obstacle to a confident adoption of sustainability policies.

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