Volume 3, 2007
Controversies in International Corporate Responsibility
Gwendolyn Yvonne Alexis
Coming Home to Roost
Offshore Operations from an In-House Perspective
Greatly aided by an information age in which protesting laborers in a remote offshore outpost can capture front page headlines around the globe, the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SARBOX) has made corporate transparency the linchpin for good corporate governance. Under a SARBOX-enhanced
regulatory framework, publicly traded corporations are required to rapidly disclose material changes in their financial conditions or operations—changes such as impairments to goodwill, a trademark, or some other intangible corporate asset. Especially challenging for multinational corporations (MNCs) with far-flung corporate empires is the need to stay abreast of the ebb and flow of goodwill, at a time when transnational human rights groups are aggressively mobilizing world opinion against the sweatshop labor conditions that abound at the offshore production sites favored by MNCs. The author explains why the convergence of a digital age of free-flowing information and the advent of SARBOX, a legislative enactment of paraenetic design, is causing the boards of MNCs to more critically evaluate the long-term costs of their offshore operations.