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Trajectories of sustainability reporting by MNCs


  • Kolk, Ans


With increasing attention to sustainable business, reporting by MNCs about the social and environmental dimensions of their activities - alongside their economic impacts - has become rather common. While research has documented sustainability reporting and looked at reports' contents, studies on MNC reporting as institutionalised phenomenon, considering evolving patterns at the firm level, have been lacking. This paper presents developments and trajectories of sustainability reporting by a panel of Fortune Global 250 firms, and also explores MNCs' reporting trends in their sector-specific settings. Using three data points covering a period of nine years, five patterns are found: consistent reporters, late adopters, laggards, inconsistent reporters, and consistent non-reporters. Different dynamics can be seen in the various sectors, with some in which reporting has become established and others where it is more emerging. Many sectors show European frontrunners, particularly when it comes to publishing verified reports at a relatively early stage. Peculiarities and implications for research and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Kolk, Ans, 2010. "Trajectories of sustainability reporting by MNCs," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 367-374, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:45:y:2010:i:4:p:367-374

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Valentina Marano & Peter Tashman & Tatiana Kostova, 2017. "Escaping the iron cage: Liabilities of origin and CSR reporting of emerging market multinational enterprises," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(3), pages 386-408, April.
    2. Vukic Nikolina Markota, 2015. "Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting: Differences among Selected EU Countries," Business Systems Research, De Gruyter Open, vol. 6(2), pages 63-73, September.
    3. Paolo Perego & Ans Kolk, 2012. "Multinationals’ Accountability on Sustainability: The Evolution of Third-party Assurance of Sustainability Reports," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 173-190, October.
    4. Barkemeyer, Ralf & Preuss, Lutz & Lee, Lindsay, 2015. "On the effectiveness of private transnational governance regimes—Evaluating corporate sustainability reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 312-325.
    5. Wagner, Marcus, 2015. "A European perspective on country moderation effects: Environmental management systems and sustainability-related human resource benefits," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 379-388.
    6. Kolk, Ans, 2016. "The social responsibility of international business: From ethics and the environment to CSR and sustainable development," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 23-34.
    7. repec:eee:iburev:v:26:y:2017:i:6:p:1075-1087 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Muhammad Zahid & Zulkipli Ghazali & Haseeb Ur Rahman, 2016. "Corporate Sustainability Practices and Reporting: A Case of Malaysian Real Estate Investment Trusts and Property Listed Companies," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 6(2), pages 688-693.
    9. repec:spr:manint:v:51:y:2011:i:5:d:10.1007_s11575-011-0089-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:kap:jbuset:v:146:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-017-3654-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Priyanka Garg, 2016. "CSR and corporate performance: evidence from India," DECISION: Official Journal of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Springer;Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, vol. 43(4), pages 333-349, December.
    12. Daniel Tschopp & Michael Nastanski, 2014. "The Harmonization and Convergence of Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Standards," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 147-162, November.
    13. Renzo Junior & Peter Best & Julie Cotter, 2014. "Sustainability Reporting and Assurance: A Historical Analysis on a World-Wide Phenomenon," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 1-11, March.
    14. repec:eee:worbus:v:52:y:2017:i:5:p:591-614 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Jeffrey S. Harrison & Joyce van der Laan Smith, 2015. "Responsible Accounting for Stakeholders," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(7), pages 935-960, November.
    16. repec:kap:jbuset:v:147:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2954-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Cory Searcy & Ruvena Buslovich, 2014. "Corporate Perspectives on the Development and Use of Sustainability Reports," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 149-169, May.
    18. repec:kap:jbuset:v:147:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2931-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Colin Higgins & Markus Milne & Bernadine Gramberg, 2015. "The Uptake of Sustainability Reporting in Australia," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 445-468, June.


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