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The mediating effects of the adoption of an environmental information system on top management's commitment and environmental performance

Sarah Yang Spencer (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
Carol Adams (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
Prem W.S. Yapa (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 10 May 2013

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the antecedent factor, top management's commitment to environmental sustainability, for the adoption of a sophisticated internal environmental information system; measured by the broad‐scope, timeliness, aggregation and integration of such information. The paper also seeks to examine whether the availability of such a system would lead to improved environmental performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper investigates responses from a survey of Chief Financial Officers or chief management accountants in the top 200 listed companies in Australia. It uses linear regression analysis based on a multiple‐mediator model with percentile‐based bootstrap, bias‐corrected (BC) and bias‐corrected and accelerated (BCa) bootstrap confidence intervals to identify significant mediators.

Findings

It was found in this study that top management commitment to environmental sustainability was associated with the adoption of a sophisticated internal environmental information system. Further, the availability of aggregated environmental information was found to mediate the relationship between top management commitment to environmental sustainability and environmental performance. However, there was no significant relationship to other mediating variables.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations relate to the collinearity of mediators which make it difficult to identify the impact of specific mediators in a multi‐mediator model. The implications are that other methods may provide further value, but these may need to be based on either different data or larger samples.

Practical implications

The findings point to the importance of aggregated environmental accounting information to organisations aiming to improve their environmental performance.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the corporate environmental accounting literature by empirically linking the top management commitment to environmental sustainability and to environmental performance through the adoption of accounting information provisions. The results of this study also provide guidance to practitioners about how to ensure their commitment to environmental sustainability will be translated to environmental performance and to some extent provide some answer to whether countries such as Australia should implement Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) to account for carbon costs.

Keywords

Citation

Yang Spencer, S., Adams, C. and Yapa, P.W.S. (2013), "The mediating effects of the adoption of an environmental information system on top management's commitment and environmental performance", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 75-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2011-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited