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Sustainability disclosure and reputation: a comparative study

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  • Giovanna Michelon

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    (Università di Padova)

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    Abstract

    This paper aims to explore the relationship between a company’s sustainability disclosure and its reputation. The sample consists of 57 companies in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and a control group belonging to the Dow Jones Global Index (World1), matched on country, industry and size. The extent of sustainability disclosure is determined using the content analysis method performed via multimedia. The empirical research provides evidence that reputation does affect the extent of sustainability disclosure. Furthermore, results indicate that European companies disclose more than US companies. This paper is exploratory in nature as it investigates the effects of reputation on corporate sustainability disclosure (CSD). It also examines sustainability disclosure by type of information – strategic, financial, environmental and social – and it extends previous studies on CSD by concentrating on information released not only on annual reports, but also in multimedia, such as social reports, environmental reports and sustainability reports.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno" in its series "Marco Fanno" Working Papers with number 0044.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:pad:wpaper:0044

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    Related research

    Keywords: sustainability disclosure; reputation; legitimacy theory; USA; Europe; UK; content analysis;

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    1. Healy, Paul M. & Palepu, Krishna G., 2001. "Information asymmetry, corporate disclosure, and the capital markets: A review of the empirical disclosure literature," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 405-440, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Patten, Dennis M., 1991. "Exposure, legitimacy, and social disclosure," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 297-308.
    4. Roberts, Robin W., 1992. "Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure: An application of stakeholder theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 595-612, August.
    5. Trotman, Ken T. & Bradley, Graham W., 1981. "Associations between social responsibility disclosure and characteristics of companies," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 355-362, October.
    6. Newson, Marc & Deegan, Craig, 2002. "Global expectations and their association with corporate social disclosure practices in Australia, Singapore, and South Korea," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-213.
    7. Cowen, Scott S. & Ferreri, Linda B. & Parker, Lee D., 1987. "The impact of corporate characteristics on social responsibility disclosure: A typology and frequency-based analysis," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 111-122, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Gary K Meek & Clare B Roberts & Sidney J Gray, 1995. "Factors Influencing Voluntary Annual Report Disclosures By U.S., U.K. and Continental European Multinational Corporations," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 26(3), pages 555-572, September.
    10. Carol A. Adams & Carlos Larrinaga-González, 2007. "Engaging with organisations in pursuit of improved sustainability accounting and performance," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 333-355, April.
    11. Dierkes, Meinolf & Preston, Lee E., 1977. "Corporate social accounting reporting for the physical environment: A critical review and implementation proposal," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 3-22, January.
    12. David L. Deephouse & Suzanne M. Carter, 2005. "An Examination of Differences Between Organizational Legitimacy and Organizational Reputation," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 329-360, 03.
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