Voluntary greenhouse gas emission disclosure impacts on accounting-based performance: Australian evidence

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 2018, 25 (3), pp. 321 - 338
Issue Date:
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© 2018, © 2018 Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand Inc. Using a cost-benefit framework, this research examines the impact of voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) disclosure on accounting-based performance. Previous studies suggest that the implementation of carbon management and reporting may be associated with the improvement of accounting-based performance by the identification of cost savings opportunities or the introduction of innovation opportunities in products and services. This study is the first that applies several proxies of accounting-based performance, such as, return on assets, return on equity and return on sales, to empirically examine the association between voluntary GHG disclosure by non-GHG registered Australian companies and accounting-based performance. The level of GHG disclosure is scored through content analysis of the annual reports of sample organisations for the financial years 2009 to 2011. This research highlights that GHG disclosure is positively associated with ROA in the year following disclosure. The findings are consistent with the predictions of the cost-benefit framework. It indicates that companies bear the extra voluntary disclosure costs to gain the perceived benefits of voluntary disclosure. Our findings are useful for organisations and stakeholders who are concerned about the cost-benefit of voluntary carbon disclosure.
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