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Environmental Reporting of Global Corporations: A Content Analysis based on Website Disclosures


  • Anita Jose


  • Shang-Mei Lee


Today, more corporations disclose information about their environmental performance in response to stakeholder demands of environmental responsibility and accountability. What information do corporations disclose on their websites? This paper investigates the environmental management policies and practices of the 200 largest corporations in the world. Based on a content analysis of the environmental reports of Fortune’s Global 200 companies, this research analyzes the content of corporate environmental disclosures with respect to the following seven areas: environmental planning considerations, top management support to the institutionalization of environmental concerns, environmental structures and organizing specifics, environmental leadership activities, environmental control, external validations or certifications of environmental programs, and forms of corporate environmental disclosures. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Anita Jose & Shang-Mei Lee, 2007. "Environmental Reporting of Global Corporations: A Content Analysis based on Website Disclosures," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 72(4), pages 307-321, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:72:y:2007:i:4:p:307-321
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9172-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Niskala, Mikael & Pretes, Michael, 1995. "Environmental reporting in Finland: A note on the use of annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 457-466, August.
    2. Neu, D. & Warsame, H. & Pedwell, K., 1998. "Managing public impressions: environmental disclosures in annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 265-282, April.
    3. 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.
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    2. S. Zeng & X. Xu & H. Yin & C. Tam, 2012. "Factors that Drive Chinese Listed Companies in Voluntary Disclosure of Environmental Information," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 309-321, September.
    3. Stefan Schaltegger & Roger Burritt & Dimitar Zvezdov & Jacob Hörisch & Joanne Tingey-Holyoak, 2015. "Management Roles and Sustainability Information. Exploring Corporate Practice," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 25(4), pages 328-345, December.
    4. Alan Muller & Gail Whiteman, 2009. "Exploring the Geography of Corporate Philanthropic Disaster Response: A Study of Fortune Global 500 Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(4), pages 589-603, February.
    5. Alice Klettner & Thomas Clarke & Martijn Boersma, 2014. "The Governance of Corporate Sustainability: Empirical Insights into the Development, Leadership and Implementation of Responsible Business Strategy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 145-165, June.
    6. Nath, Prithwiraj & Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan, 2016. "Environmental management practices, environmental technology portfolio, and environmental commitment: A content analytic approach for UK manufacturing firms," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(P3), pages 427-437.
    7. Bullock Graham, 2015. "Signaling the credibility of private actors as public agents: transparency, independence, and expertise in environmental evaluations of products and companies," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(2), pages 177-219, August.
    8. Cory Searcy, 2012. "Corporate Sustainability Performance Measurement Systems: A Review and Research Agenda," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 239-253, May.
    9. repec:eee:accfor:v:35:y:2011:i:3:p:187-204 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Brunella Arru, 2015. "Indagine sulla comunicazione della responsabilità sociale delle società quotate italiane," MERCATI E COMPETITIVITÀ, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(4), pages 15-46.
    11. Elisabeth Albertini, 2014. "A Descriptive Analysis of Environmental Disclosure: A Longitudinal Study of French Companies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 233-254, May.
    12. Bouten, Lies & Everaert, Patricia & Van Liedekerke, Luc & De Moor, Lieven & Christiaens, Johan, 2011. "Corporate social responsibility reporting: A comprehensive picture?," Accounting forum, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 187-204.
    13. repec:eee:touman:v:44:y:2014:i:c:p:149-160 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Toms, Steven, 2008. "Asymmetric Response: Explaining Corporate Social Disclosure by Multi-National Firms in Environmentally Sensitive Industries," The York Management School Working Papers 42, The York Management School, University of York.
    15. Merle Ojasoo, 2016. "CSR reporting, stakeholder engagement and preventing hypocrisy through ethics audit," Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, Springer;UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship, vol. 6(1), pages 1-14, December.
    16. repec:eee:accfor:v:35:y:2011:i:2:p:75-89 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Olivier Boiral & Charles Baron & Olen Gunnlaugson, 2014. "Environmental Leadership and Consciousness Development: A Case Study Among Canadian SMEs," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 363-383, September.
    18. Noushi Rahman & Corinne Post, 2012. "Measurement Issues in Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (ECSR): Toward a Transparent, Reliable, and Construct Valid Instrument," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(3), pages 307-319, February.
    19. Luis Perez-Batres & Van Miller & Michael Pisani, 2010. "CSR, Sustainability and the Meaning of Global Reporting for Latin American Corporations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 193-209, February.
    20. repec:eee:accfor:v:35:y:2011:i:1:p:19-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Yussri Sawani & Mustaffa Mohamed Zain & Faizah Darus, 2010. "Preliminary insights on sustainability reporting and assurance practices in Malaysia," Social Responsibility Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(4), pages 627-645, October.
    22. repec:eee:touman:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:484-493 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Kenneth Amaeshi & Olufemi Amao, 2009. "Corporate Social Responsibility in Transnational Spaces: Exploring Influences of Varieties of Capitalism on Expressions of Corporate Codes of Conduct in Nigeria," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(2), pages 225-239, March.
    24. Emilio Passetti & Andrea Tenucci & Lino Cinquini & Marco Frey, 2008. "Communicating Intellectual Capital: Evidence from Social and Sustainability Reporting," Working Papers 200805, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, Istituto di Management.


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