The impact of internal governance mechanisms on environmental performance of Saudi firms

Neef Alwadani, Habiba Al-Shaer, Khaldoon Albitar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to explore whether firms that have a sustainability committee operating on the board, publish separate sustainability reports that are externally assured by an independent external audit and have large and active boards are more likely to be engaged in environmental practices and have better environmental performance. 

Design/methodology/approach: Based on a sample of firms listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange, covering the period 2014–2021, this study applies panel data models to examine the research hypotheses. Findings: The findings show significant positive associations between the existence of a sustainability committee, the publication of separate sustainability reports and the independent external assurance of these reports and environmental performance. This study also finds that the composite internal governance index is significant and positively associated with environmental performance. 

Practical implications: Policymakers should support the creation of a sustainability committee on the boards of Saudi firms and review its role and responsibilities. The findings of this study inform regulators of the importance of the existence of independent external assurance of the sustainability reports of Saudi firms to enhance the credibility and reliability of these reports. Managers need to establish devoted committees committed to sustainability-related tasks that help coordinate communications between the firm and stakeholders. 

Originality/value: The Saudi Arabian Government has implemented a range of policies and initiatives aimed at improving environmental performance, which is a main focus of Saudi Vision 2030 to achieve environmental sustainability. Therefore, this study provides unique evidence and new insights on the impact of internal governance on corporate environmental performance in the Saudi context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting and Information Management
Early online date28 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 28 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Environmental performance
  • External assurance
  • Internal governance
  • Sustainability committee
  • Sustainability reports

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