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Strategic environmental disclosure: Evidence from the DOE's voluntary greenhouse gas registry

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  • Kim, Eun-Hee
  • Lyon, Thomas P.

Abstract

Although mandatory disclosure programs have been studied extensively, strategic voluntary environmental disclosures by firms are not well understood. We study the motivations for and impacts of firms' strategic disclosure of greenhouse gas reductions to the US government. We first model firms' joint abatement and disclosure decisions, incorporating both economic and political incentives. We then use data from the Department of Energy's Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Registry to compare reported reductions to actual emissions. We find that participants in the program engage in highly selective reporting: in the aggregate, they increase emissions over time but report reductions. In contrast, non-participants decrease emissions over time. Participants tend to be large firms facing strong regulatory pressure; pressure from environmental groups reduces the likelihood of participation, suggesting such groups viewed the program as a form of greenwash. Participating in the 1605(b) program had no significant effect on a firm's changes in carbon intensity over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 61 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 311-326

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:61:y:2011:i:3:p:311-326

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

Related research

Keywords: Information disclosure Public voluntary programs Early reduction credits Greenhouse gas Electric utilities Greenwash The 1605(b) program;

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Cited by:
  1. Delmas, Magali A. & Lessem, Neil, 2014. "Saving power to conserve your reputation? The effectiveness of private versus public information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 353-370.
  2. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran & Stephen Finger, 2013. "Does industry self-regulation reduce pollution? Responsible Care in the chemical industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 1-30, January.
  3. Timothy Simcoe & Michael W. Toffel, 2012. "Public Procurement and the Private Supply of Green Buildings," NBER Working Papers 18385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Harrington, Donna Ramirez, 2012. "Two-stage adoption of different types of pollution prevention (P2) activities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 349-373.
  5. Donna Ramirez Harrington, 2013. "Effectiveness Of State Pollution Prevention Programs And Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 255-278, 04.
  6. Timothy Simcoe & Michael W. Toffel, 2012. "Government Green Procurement Spillovers: Evidence from Municipal Building Policies in California," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-030, Harvard Business School, revised May 2014.
  7. Will Gans & Beat Hintermann, 2011. "Market Effects of Voluntary Climate Action by Firms: Evidence from the Chicago Climate Exchange," CESifo Working Paper Series 3445, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Martina Vidovic & Neha Khanna, 2012. "Is Voluntary Pollution Abatement in the Absence of a Carrot or Stick Effective? Evidence from Facility Participation in the EPA’s 33/50 Program," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(3), pages 369-393, July.
  9. Bui, Linda T.M. & Kapon, Samuel, 2012. "The impact of voluntary programs on polluting behavior: Evidence from pollution prevention programs and toxic releases," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 31-44.
  10. Matisoff, Daniel C., 2013. "Different rays of sunlight: Understanding information disclosure and carbon transparency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 579-592.

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