RGU researchers present findings on EU transparency directives

Louise Crawford

Researchers from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Business School have presented their findings following an investigation into new European Union directives aimed at improving the transparency of payments made to governments by companies engaged in extracting natural resources.

Professor Louise Crawford (pictured) and Martyn Gordon from Aberdeen Business School worked with colleagues from Sheffield and Westminster universities and University College London (UCL) to explore the development and early operation of the UK’s transposition into legislation of parts of the EU’s accounting and transparency directives which require large extractive and logging companies to report the payments they make to governments on a country-by-country basis.

The directives aim to “provide civil society in resource-rich countries with the information needed to hold governments to account for any income made through the exploitation of natural resources”.

The research team spent six months carrying out interviews and analysing the country-by-country disclosures of more than 50 UK-listed oil, gas and mining companies which operate around the world.

The conclusions, which include a number of policy recommendations, were presented at a special Publish What You Pay (PWYP) workshop hosted by the University of Sheffield and attended by representatives of civil society organisations from many EU countries.

Professor Crawford, who co-led the research team, said: “This is a very exciting project producing evidence-based recommendations to industry, civil society and the government about UK transparency reporting in the extractive industries. The outcome of this research will inform contemporary debates on accountability and transparency in the extractives sector.

“Providing information to civil society in countries rich in natural resources is important for making clearer the socio-economic impact of extractive activities upon these countries.”

The report recommendations will be used to inform responses to the UK government’s review of the legislation, scheduled for completion later this year, and the subsequent EU review scheduled for completion by July 2018.

The research was co-led by Professor Jim Haslam, University of Sheffield and Professor Louise Crawford, RGU, with Martyn Gordon, RGU, Dr Eleni Chatzigevri, University of Westminster and Lynsie Chew, UCL.