On the effectiveness of private transnational governance regimes: Evaluating corporate sustainability reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative

Ralf Barkemeyer, Lutz Preuss, Lindsay Lee

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The increasing involvement of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in global governance has been both applauded for its potential to make governance more effective and criticized for lacking democratic legitimization. Hence we investigate the effectiveness of one transnational governance regime, corporate sustainability reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). We found that the GRI has been successful in terms of output effectiveness by promoting the dissemination of sustainability reporting, in particular among Asian and South American companies. However, the outcome effectiveness of the GRI is limited as reporting showed a rather uniform content across countries and sectors which does not reflect materiality considerations. As GRI reporting does not seem to have facilitated greater company-stakeholder interaction, its impact effectiveness is likely to be limited too. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-325
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Global governance
  • Global Reporting Initiative
  • Governance effectiveness
  • Nonmarket strategy
  • Sustainability reporting

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