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Corporate Responses in an Emerging Climate Regime: The Institutionalization and Commensuration of Carbon Disclosure

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  • Ans Kolk
  • David Levy
  • Jonatan Pinkse

Abstract

This paper examines corporate responses to climate change in relation to the development of reporting mechanisms for greenhouse gases, more specifically carbon disclosure. It first presents some background and context on the evolution of carbon trading and disclosure, and then develops a conceptual framework using theories of global governance, institutional theory and commensuration to understand the role of carbon disclosure in the emerging climate regime. Subsequently, a closer look is taken at carbon disclosure and reporting mechanisms, with a particular focus on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Our analysis of responses shows that CDP has been successfully using institutional investors to urge firms to disclose extensive information about their climate change activities. However, although response rates in terms of numbers of disclosing firms are impressive and growing, neither the level of carbon disclosure that CDP promotes nor the more detailed carbon accounting provide information that is particularly valuable for investors, NGOs or policy makers at this stage. As a project of commensuration, carbon disclosure has achieved some progress in technical terms, but much less with regard to the cognitive and value dimensions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 719-745

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Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:17:y:2008:i:4:p:719-745

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Cited by:
  1. Christopher Marquis & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "Scrutiny, Norms, and Selective Disclosure: A Global Study of Greenwashing," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-115, Harvard Business School, revised Dec 2013.
  2. Markus J. Milne & Suzana Grubnic, 2011. "Climate change accounting research: keeping it interesting and different," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(8), pages 948-977, October.
  3. Apergis, Nicholas & Eleftheriou, Sofia & Payne, James E., 2013. "The relationship between international financial reporting standards, carbon emissions, and R&D expenditures: Evidence from European manufacturing firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 57-66.
  4. Michaela Rankin & Carolyn Windsor & Dina Wahyuni, 2011. "An investigation of voluntary corporate greenhouse gas emissions reporting in a market governance system: Australian evidence," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(8), pages 1037-1070, October.
  5. Kimitaka Nishitani & Shinji Kaneko & Satoru Komatsu & Hidemichi Fujii, 2011. "Firm's reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and economic performance: analyzing effects through demand and productivity," IDEC DP2 Series 1-1, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
  6. Ziegler, Andreas & Busch, Timo & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2011. "Disclosed corporate responses to climate change and stock performance: An international empirical analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1283-1294.
  7. Daniel Matisoff, 2012. "Privatizing Climate Change Policy: Is there a Public Benefit?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(3), pages 409-433, November.
  8. Francisco Ascui & Heather Lovell, 2011. "As frames collide: making sense of carbon accounting," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(8), pages 978-999, October.
  9. Matisoff, Daniel C., 2013. "Different rays of sunlight: Understanding information disclosure and carbon transparency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 579-592.
  10. Ans Kolk & Paolo Perego, 2014. "Sustainable Bonuses: Sign of Corporate Responsibility or Window Dressing?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 1-15, January.
  11. Burkard Eberlein & Dirk Matten, 2009. "Business Responses to Climate Change Regulation in Canada and Germany: Lessons for MNCs from Emerging Economies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 241-255, March.
  12. Janine Hogan & Sumit Lodhia, 2011. "Sustainability reporting and reputation risk management: an Australian case study," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(3), pages 267-287, September.
  13. Jose-Manuel Prado-Lorenzo & Isabel-Maria Garcia-Sanchez, 2010. "The Role of the Board of Directors in Disseminating Relevant Information on Greenhouse Gases," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 391-424, December.
  14. Jonatan Pinkse & Ans Kolk, 2012. "Addressing the climate change sustainable development nexus: the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00707337, HAL.
  15. Talbot, David & Boiral, Olivier, 2013. "Can we trust corporates GHG inventories? An investigation among Canada's large final emitters," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1075-1085.

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