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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kim, Eun-Hee & Lyon, Thomas P., 2011. "Strategic environmental disclosure: Evidence from the DOE's voluntary greenhouse gas registry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 311-326, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:61:y:2011:i:3:p:311-326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Fabrice Etilé & Sabrina Teyssier, 2012. "Signaling Corporate Social Responsibility: Third-Party Certification vs. Brands," Working Papers halshs-00736551, HAL.
    3. 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.
    4. Simcoe, Timothy & Toffel, Michael W., 2014. "Government green procurement spillovers: Evidence from municipal building policies in California," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 411-434.
    5. Will Gans & Beat Hintermann, 2013. "Market Effects of Voluntary Climate Action by Firms: Evidence from the Chicago Climate Exchange," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 55(2), pages 291-308, June.
    6. Matisoff, Daniel C., 2013. "Different rays of sunlight: Understanding information disclosure and carbon transparency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 579-592.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:spr:envpol:v:19:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10018-016-0168-z is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Rachel Croson & Nicolas Treich, 2014. "Behavioral Environmental Economics: Promises and Challenges," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(3), pages 335-351, July.
    10. 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.
    11. Di Maria, Corrado & Smulders, Sjak & van der Werf, Edwin, 2012. "Absolute abundance and relative scarcity: Environmental policy with implementation lags," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 104-119.
    12. Fabrice Etilé & Sabrina Teyssier, 2012. "Signaling Corporate Social Responsibility: Third-Party Certification vs. Brands," PSE Working Papers halshs-00736551, HAL.
    13. 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.
    14. Bin Ni & Hanae Tamechika & Tsunehiro Otsuki & Keiichiro Honda, 2016. "Does ISO14001 raise firms f awareness of environmental protection? |Case from Vietnam," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 16-05, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    15. repec:bpj:bejeap:v:17:y:2017:i:2:p:9:n:8 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. 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, April.
    17. repec:kap:jbuset:v:143:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3072-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Kim Eun-Hee & Lyon Thomas, 2011. "When Does Institutional Investor Activism Increase Shareholder Value?: The Carbon Disclosure Project," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29, August.
    19. Daniel Matisoff, 2015. "Sources of specification errors in the assessment of voluntary environmental programs: understanding program impacts," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 48(1), pages 109-126, March.
    20. 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, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(3), pages 369-393, July.

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