How did the transparency agenda develop in the extractive industries? Why did key actors embrace it? What has been the outcome? The article discusses the rise of the transparency agenda by scrutinising the intellectual paradigms that laid the foundations for the ensuing debates. It examines motivations behind the key actors’
decisions to embrace the transparency agenda with a focus on extractive companies. This article also discusses the subsequent creation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and argues that whereas the creation of the EITI has been a significant event, it is nevertheless unlikely to have a far-reaching effect. Corporate actors have utilised the transparency agenda to their own ends while the responsibility for implementing EITI's ambitious objectives was largely left to weak local civil society groups.