This paper investigates the relationship between product market competition and firms’ water information disclosure and how firms’ ownership type can affect this relationship in China, offering new insights into corporate water management.
The authors investigated 303 Chinese listed companies in highly water-sensitive industries to examine how product market competition influences corporate water information disclosure by subdividing the product market competition into market competition at the firm level and the industry competition intensity at the industry level.
The results show that there exists an inverted U-shaped relationship between industry competition and water information disclosure; enterprises with the highest market power in a mildly competitive industry are more willing to voluntarily disclose water information and play an industry benchmarking role. Further tests demonstrate that the relationship between industry competition intensity and water information disclosure is stronger for state-owned enterprises than for private enterprises.
The current water resources regulations in China are relatively lax and the water risk awareness of firms is weak, which may affect the applicability of the results. In addition, water information disclosure research is a relatively new field and a quantitative index system for water information disclosure is still in the exploratory stage. Further developments, including the selection, definition and measuring methods of a water index are required.
The authors developed a new direction of enterprise water management activities from the perspective of market competition. Based on the market conditions in China, the authors also investigated the impact of the ownership type of the enterprises on the relationship between market competition and water information disclosure.
The authors suggested that the government should improve laws and regulations and adopt incentive mechanisms to encourage enterprises to implement water resource management. In addition, the government should encourage high market status enterprises to actively fulfill their environmental responsibilities so that the entire industry is encouraged to follow suit.
This study represents an important development in the field of environmental accounting and is the first research on corporate water information disclosure; it also extends the research on the influence mechanisms of market competition on the environmental management practices of enterprises.
Zhou, Z., Zhang, T., Chen, J., Zeng, H. and Chen, X. (2019), "Help or resistance? Product market competition and water information disclosure: evidence from China", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2018-0287Download as .RIS
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