In this article, I analyze the use of crowdsourcing to promote corporate sustainability by assessing compliance with supply chain disclosure laws. I draw on a case study of WikiRate.org as a novel example of crowdsourcing compliance with respect to the UK Modern Slavery Act and U.S. conflict minerals legislation (section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act).
WikiRate is an open research platform whose mission is to crowdsource better companies by motivating corporations “to be transparent and responsive by making data about their environmental, social, and governance performance open and comparable to all.” After describing the information gap that exists with respect to corporate disclosures under recent supply chain disclosure laws, I analyze how WikiRate attempts to address this gap through the use of crowdsourcing. Following an analysis of its projects on modern slavery and conflict minerals, I evaluate the challenges of using crowdsourcing to assess legal compliance, including the potential manipulation of data and the difficulty of relying on non-expert citizens to assess complex information in corporate disclosures. I argue that while crowdsourcing platforms such as WikiRate allow a broad range of stakeholders to assess compliance, the reality is that only those individuals with specialized expertise may be able to meaningfully participate.