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Mandatory environmental disclosures by companies complying with IAS/IFRS: The case of France, Germany and the UK

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Author Info

  • Elena Barbu

    ()
    (CERAG - Centre d'études et de recherches appliquées à la gestion - CNRS : UMR5820 - Université Pierre Mendès-France - Grenoble II)

  • Pascal Dumontier

    ()
    (CERAG - Centre d'études et de recherches appliquées à la gestion - CNRS : UMR5820 - Université Pierre Mendès-France - Grenoble II)

  • Niculae Feleagă

    (The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies - The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies)

  • Liliana Feleagă

    (The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies - The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies)

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    Abstract

    This study investigates whether the adoption of a single set of accounting standards, such as IFRS, guarantees harmonization of accounting practices within a country and across countries, or whether differences in reporting practices persist because of dissimilarities in reporting habits and institutional settings. To this end, we investigate whether the level of environmental disclosure under IFRS is related to the size of the reporting firm, which has been shown to be a major determinant of voluntary environmental information, and the strength of legal and regulatory constraints on environmental disclosures in the country where the firm is domiciled. Results indicate that environmental disclosures imposed by IFRS increase with firm size, just like voluntary environmental disclosures. This suggests that application of IFRS is affected by the reporting practices that prevailed prior to IFRS adoption. Results also indicate that firms domiciled in countries with constraining environmental disclosure regulations (i.e. France and the UK) report more on environmental issues than do firms domiciled in countries with weakly constraining regulations (i.e. Germany). This suggests that national regulations strongly impact IFRS reporting. Taken as a whole, our results support the view that IFRS are not applied consistently across firms or across countries, notably because of persistence of reporting traditions and discrepancies in national legal requirements.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00658409.

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    Date of creation: 09 Jan 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00658409

    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00658409/en/
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    Related research

    Keywords: environmental disclosure; environmental accounting; environmental regulation; IAS/IFRS;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Baker, C. Richard & Barbu, Elena M., 2007. "Trends in research on international accounting harmonization," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 272-304.
    2. Cormier, Denis & Magnan, Michel, 2003. "Environmental reporting management: a continental European perspective," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 43-62.
    3. Cho, Charles H. & Patten, Dennis M., 2007. "The role of environmental disclosures as tools of legitimacy: A research note," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 639-647.
    4. Robert W. Holthausen, 2009. "Accounting Standards, Financial Reporting Outcomes, and Enforcement," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 447-458, 05.
    5. Ball, Ray & Robin, Ashok & Wu, Joanna Shuang, 2003. "Incentives versus standards: properties of accounting income in four East Asian countries," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 235-270, December.
    6. Denis Cormier & Michel Magnan & Barbara Van Velthoven, 2005. "Environmental disclosure quality in large German companies: Economic incentives, public pressures or institutional conditions?," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 3-39.
    7. Khaled Elsayed, 2006. "Reexamining the Expected Effect of Available Resources and Firm Size on Firm Environmental Orientation: An Empirical Study of UK Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 297-308, 05.
    8. Rob Gray & Mohammed Javad & David M. Power & C. Donald Sinclair, 2001. "Social and Environmental Disclosure and Corporate Characteristics: A Research Note and Extension," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3-4), pages 327-356.
    9. Patten, Dennis M., 1992. "Intra-industry environmental disclosures in response to the Alaskan oil spill: A note on legitimacy theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 471-475, July.
    10. Carol Adams & Nongnooch Kuasirikun, 2000. "A comparative analysis of corporate reporting on ethical issues by UK and German chemical and pharmaceutical companies," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 53-79.
    11. Freedman, Martin & Jaggi, Bikki, 2005. "Global warming, commitment to the Kyoto protocol, and accounting disclosures by the largest global public firms from polluting industries," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 215-232.
    12. Jill Frances Solomon & Aris Solomon, 2006. "Private social, ethical and environmental disclosure," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(4), pages 564-591, July.
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