DPU Working Paper - No. 123
Corporate Responsibility and Impact Assessments: The Bolivia-Brazil Gas Pipeline
24 July 2003
Author: Fabio Eon
Publication Date: 2003
The past decades have witnessed not only a growing influence of transnational corporations, but also an increasing number of social actors that came into play. As the world becomes smaller, corporate business is faced with new challenges that include a more proactive role towards the community and the environment within which they work. Profit maximisation is still a rule of thumb, but new management strategies relating to openness and transparency, not to mention safety and environmental concerns, are a good beginning for socially responsible companies.
In that sense, many companies are beginning to differentiate themselves from a “business as usual” approach, and are increasingly disclosing information on other indicators than economics. Corporate reports are still in a transitional phase, or in the “teenage years” to quote the New Economics Foundation (2001). Nonetheless, they represent a great progress in terms of acknowledging a new reality where companies are more accountable and dependent on a multitude of diverse stakeholders. Naturally corporate statements are only meaningful if corporate actions live up to their promises. That is why sound impact assessments, either social or environmental, are paramount as scrutiny mechanisms to corporate influence.