Many corporate ESG disclosure regulations rely on private activist pressure to enforce compliance, but relatively little is known about its effectiveness. We present results from a field experiment testing the effect of various types of pressure from a leading human rights NGO on subsequent corporate compliance with the U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015, a law requiring disclosure of actions taken to address human rights issues. Sending firms a letter describing their legal ESG disclosure obligations had an unexpected effect of reducing rather than increasing compliance. This effect was partly mitigated for firms whose letter additionally included a list of already compliant firms, the mitigating effect being greatest when this list of peers was drawn from the same geographic location as the targeted firm.
Lee, Matthew, and Jasjit Singh. "Activist Pressure and Firm Compliance with ESG Disclosure Policy: Experimental Evidence from the U.K. Modern Slavery Act." INSEAD Working Paper Series, March 9, 2023.