Voluntary disclosure, greenhouse gas emissions and business performance: assessing the first decade of reporting

David C. Broadstock, Alan Collins, Lester Hunt, Konstantinos Vergos

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    Abstract

    This study explores the empirical relationships between GHG emissions and an extensive range of business performance measures for UK FTSE-350 listed firms over the first decade or so of such reporting. Despite the popular and policy generated environmental imperatives over this period—along with growing evidence of the corporate added-value of having an ‘environmental conscience’, voluntary disclosure of emissions has been slow to adopt by firms. The leading contribution is to present clear evidence of a non-linear relationship, initially increasing with firm performance and then decreasing. An extensive pattern of non-reporting of emissions is also observed over time, and prior literature has introduced questions of endogeneity existing between firm performance and emissions. Steps are taken to ensure confidence/robustness of the results to these concerns. Accordingly, a two-stage (Heckman-type) selection model is used to analyse the emissions-performance nexus conditional upon the firm choosing to report (i.e. treating the choice to report as being endogenously determined with firm performance). From this—in addition to confirming the robustness of the non-linear relationship—it can be observed that the decision to report emissions is not directly influenced by wider social/governance disclosure attitudes of a firm, thus suggesting that firms disassociate environmental responsibility from social responsibility.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-59
    Number of pages12
    JournalThe British Accounting Review
    Volume50
    Issue number1
    Early online date1 Mar 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

    Keywords

    • Voluntary disclosure
    • Carbon emissions
    • Business performance
    • Environmental reporting
    • Non-linear effect

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