The impact of COVID 19 on sustainability reporting: a perspective from the US financial institutions

Hani Alkayed, Ibrahim Yousef, Khaled Hussainey, Esam Shehadeh

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Design/methodology/approach: We use the independent sample t-test and U Mann-Whitney test throughout as well as OLS, random effects, fixed effects, heteroskedasticity corrected model to test the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainability reporting in the US financial sector.

Purpose: We provide the first empirical study on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainability reporting in US financial institutions using institutional, stakeholder, and legitimacy theories. We use a sample from all listed US financial firms after controlling for both the Refinitiv Eikon sector classification and the NAICS sector classification.

Findings: Using U Mann–Whitney test and independent sample t-test, we find that the average ESG score for the pre-COVID19 period is 53% compared with 62.3% for the COVID-19 period, indicating that the sustainability reporting during COVID-19 is much higher compared with a pre-pandemic period. The findings of regression analysis also confirm that the US financial companies increased their sustainability reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research limitations/implications: Our research offers useful recommendations for policymakers to create standards for regulators on the significance of raising sustainability awareness. Our findings are crucial for accounting regulators as they work to implement COVID-19 and enforce required integrated reporting rules and regulations.

Originality/value: We provide the first empirical evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainability reporting, by examining how US financial institutions approach the topic of sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic and assessing the pandemic's current consequences on sustainability
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Accounting Research
Early online date5 Jul 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 5 Jul 2023


  • COVID-19
  • sustainability reporting
  • environmental
  • social and governance (ESG)
  • financial institutions

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