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Countries’ regulatory context and voluntary carbon disclosures

Antonio J. Mateo-Márquez (Department of Accounting and Finance, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain)
José M. González-González (Department of Accounting and Finance, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain)
Constancio Zamora-Ramírez (Department of Accounting and Finance, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 7 November 2019

Issue publication date: 24 February 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to analyse the relationship between countries’ regulatory context and voluntary carbon disclosures. To date, little attention has been paid to how specific climate change-related regulation influences companies’ climate change disclosures, especially voluntary carbon reporting.

Design/methodology/approach

The New Institutional Sociology perspective has been adopted to examine the pressure of a country’s climate change regulation on voluntary carbon reporting. This research uses Tobit regression to analyse data from 2,183 companies in 12 countries that were invited to respond to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) questionnaire in 2015.

Findings

The results show that countries’ specific climate change-related regulation does influence both the participation of its companies in the CDP and their quality, as measured by the CDP disclosure score.

Research limitations/implications

The sample is restricted to 12 countries’ regulatory environment. Thus, caution should be exercised when generalising the results to other institutional contexts.

Practical implications

The results are of use to regulators and policymakers to better understand how specific climate change-related regulation influences voluntary carbon disclosure. Investors may also benefit from this research, as it shows which institutional contexts present greater regulatory stringency and how companies in more stringent environments take advantage of synergy to disclose high-quality carbon information.

Social implications

By linking regulatory and voluntary reporting, this study sheds light on how companies use voluntary carbon reporting to adapt to social expectations generated in their institutional context.

Originality/value

This is the first research that considers specific climate change-related regulation in the study of voluntary carbon disclosures.

Keywords

Citation

Mateo-Márquez, A.J., González-González, J.M. and Zamora-Ramírez, C. (2020), "Countries’ regulatory context and voluntary carbon disclosures", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 383-408. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-11-2018-0302

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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