The regulation of transparency in the field of CSR : The materialization of an ideal into technologies of government

Abstract : What does it mean for a corporation to be transparent in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? The search for transparency is presented as a key driver of a sustainability policies (Gray, 1992; Milne, Kearins, & Walton, 2006). Yet, transparency in practice – as it is materialized through standards – is far from transparency in principle. The gap between the ostensive and performative aspects of transparency have to be analyzed (Latour, 1984). In this paper, we propose to study practices and processes, i.e. the way in which transparency is materialized into specific instruments and technologies that currently govern corporate conducts: private CSR reporting standards. For that purpose, we analyze two widely diffused CSR corporate standards (the GRI and the CDP), stressing the shiftings between the original discourses on transparency of their promoters to their implementation into a set of tools and technologies. We highlight and discuss a risk of capture of transparency principles by the auditing profession who is at the forefront of such standards.
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Franck Aggeri, Morgane Le Breton. The regulation of transparency in the field of CSR : The materialization of an ideal into technologies of government. EGOS, Jul 2016, Naples, Italy. ⟨halshs-01368029⟩

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