In the corporate jungle inhabited by Enrons and WorldComs, a lack of transparency is the root of all scandal. Yet delivering transparency seems immensely difficult, with the oftencompeting interests of shareholders, corporate boards, government regulators and other stakeholders to be taken into account. Drawing on a vast wealth of real-life examples from the commercial world, this lively business book goes in search of the appropriate limits of transparency. From commercial confidentiality and the ethics of marketing to lobbying and corporate corruption, the author addresses the position, significance and limits of transparency in modern corporate life, working through the dilemmas presented by the increasing calls for transparency. From the secrets of the boardroom to the struggles of NGOs, transparency is a persistent challenge. How much is enough? How much do we need? And how do companies actually report on their impacts?
Table of Contents
Approaching Transparency * Case Studies * Coming to Terms with Transparency * What is a Company, Exactly? * The Right Perspective * The Ethics of Personal Transparency * Reporting: Talking Your Walk * Reporting Challenges * The Story of the Media and the Honest Truth * The Certainty of Tax * The Crisis in Confidence * Corruption * Lobbying and Complicity * A Future for Integrity * Index
Adrian Henriques is an independent adviser, writer, researcher, teacher and campaigner on corporate responsibility, social accountability and sustainability. He has audited company reports on corporate social responsibilty (CSR), sustainability and social impact. He has also been actively involved in the development of standards for responsibility and reporting. Adrian is currently Visiting Professor of Accountability and CSR at Middlesex University Business School. His previous publications include The Triple Bottom Line: Does It All Add Up? and Focus on Sustainability and its Implications for CSR.
'Corporate transparency is crucial because, with all their power, companies have a mind of their own. Henriques points out that the 'psychology' of companies means that unless people within companies can be honest with themselves, real transparency may be unattainable.' Oliver James, author of Affluenza and Britain on the Couch 'Whether you are an accounting standard setter, a corporate lawyer or an activist member of an NGO you will find ideas here which challenge previously held views and demand your consideration.' Roger Adams, Executive Director - Technical, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants 'This book will help business leaders understand the values and principles which underpin business integrity and why transparency needs to be taken to the heart of the decision-making process.' John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network International Secretariat 'This book is a timely exploration of what 'transparency' entails, the basis for expecting it of companies, and the limits which may apply to adopting it ... a welcome contribution both to contemporary debate and to the practical challenges which must be addressed by the creators of wealth.' David Nussbaum, CEO of Transparency International 'Transparency is a precondition of effective accountability, and Corporate Truth provides a compelling account of the state of corporate transparency today.' Jonathon Porritt, Founder-Director of Forum for the Future and Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission 'This important book examines the scope and limits of transparency, intelligently confronting the challenges and problems it poses. Its basic argument - that transparency is required wherever power it exercised - is relevant not only to companies, but to governments and, as their influence grows, to non-governmental organizations as well. It makes valuable reading for all.' Sir Geoffrey Chandler CBE, founding Chair of Amnesty International Business Group and former Director of Shell International 'Corporate transparency is crucial because, with all their power, companies have a mind of their own. Henriques points out that the 'psychology' of companies means that unless people within companies can be honest with themselves, real transparency may be unattainable.' Oliver James, author of Affluenza and Britain on the Couch 'This is a noble book with an explicitly moral focus: namely that 'transparency is required wherever power is exercised'... there is much that is refreshing about the text that can usefully remind us why accountability is a lot more than a life-style choice and that what we do really does have a considerable potential for change.' Social and Environmental Accounting Journal