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Firm environmental disclosure and government’s sustainable leadership: an analysis of keywords in Chinese Government work reports

Miao He (Department of Accounting and Banking, Faculty of Business, Chu Hai College of Higher Education, New Territories, Hong Kong)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 1 February 2024




This paper examines how firms respond to local government’s environment initiatives through textual analysis of government work reports (GWRs). This study aims to provide insights into how firms strategically respond to government’s environmental initiatives through their disclosure and investment practices.


This study uses a textual analysis of GWRs from China’s provinces. The frequency and change rate of environmental keywords in these reports are used as a measure of the government’s environmental initiatives.


This study finds that environmental disclosure scores in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reports increase with the frequency or change rate of environmental keywords in provincial GWRs. This effect is more pronounced for non-state-owned enterprises, firms in highly marketized provinces or those listed in a single capital market. However, there is no significant relationship between firms’ environmental investments and government initiatives, except for cross-listed firms in provinces with consistently high frequency of environmental keywords in their GWRs.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that government environmental initiatives can shape firms’ disclosure behaviors, yet have limited influence on investment decisions, suggesting that environmental disclosure could potentially be opportunistic. This underscores the need for more effective strategies to stimulate firms’ environmental investments.


This study provides valuable insights into the differential impacts of government environmental initiatives on firms’ disclosure and investment behaviors, contributing to the understanding of corporate environmental responsibility in the context of government initiatives.



The author thank the guest editors and anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments and suggestions.


He, M. (2024), "Firm environmental disclosure and government’s sustainable leadership: an analysis of keywords in Chinese Government work reports", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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