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Internationalization and environmental disclosure: the role of home and host institutions

Ans Kolk (University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands)
Fabienne Fortanier (University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 12 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The domestic institutional context has emerged as a key determinant of firms' environmental disclosure, but studies have hardly addressed the extent to which exposure to foreign institutional contexts plays a role in the occurrence and contents of non‐financial disclosure, which are crucial aspects for understanding multinationals' accountability. The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship between internationalization (both degree and spread) and environmental disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

It is hypothesized that both home and host country institutional pressures affect the relationship between internationalization and environmental disclosure, and that these effects are more prominent in environmentally‐sensitive sectors. The proposed relationships are tested using data from the Fortune Global 250.

Findings

Results show a significantly negative relationship between the degree of internationalization and environmental disclosure, which is only partly mitigated by environmental governance and institutional quality in home and host countries. The relationship is only positive for firms in high‐sensitivity sectors from high‐standard countries. Findings are particularly strong for the degree of internationalization; and non‐significant for dispersion/spread.

Originality/value

This article moves beyond the predominant focus on country‐of‐origin effects by adding exposure to foreign institutional contexts, for which it develops a new indicator. It renews attention to non‐financial disclosure, a topic underexposed in the IB literature. Viewed from a broader IB perspective, this article provides an empirical illustration of the effect of home and host institutions on firm strategy, and of the use of different metrics to assess internationalization with divergent results for degree versus spread, as well as for sales versus assets, pointing to areas for further research.

Keywords

Citation

Kolk, A. and Fortanier, F. (2013), "Internationalization and environmental disclosure: the role of home and host institutions", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 87-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/15253831311309500

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited