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In February 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an interpretive release clarifying the information that registrants should disclose about climate…
In February 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an interpretive release clarifying the information that registrants should disclose about climate change in their annual filings. Based on the industries the European Union targeted for its cap-and-trade carbon trading mechanism, this study investigates climate change disclosures for Fortune 500 firms operating in these same sectors. Using an equal-weighting scheme for content analysis of Form 10-Ks from 136 firms, we completed a comparative analysis on the extensiveness of climate change disclosures for the pre- and post-periods surrounding the SEC pronouncement. We observed a statistically significant increase in the disclosure of information related to climate change in 2010 compared to 2008, but no similar effect when comparing 2010–2009 reporting. There was a significant disclosure increase in 2009 compared to 2008. We conclude – based on a hypothesized anticipation of the SEC actually mandating climate change information in filings – that firms augmented their disclosures during 2009 in advance of the official guidance being published. This is a rather significant outcome given the historical lack of environmental disclosure subsequent to previous SEC mandates.
There is growing apprehension about climate change and the role played by fossil fuels. Exploration of renewable sources of energy as an alternative to fossil fuels…
There is growing apprehension about climate change and the role played by fossil fuels. Exploration of renewable sources of energy as an alternative to fossil fuels reveals that there is no path forward toward a true green economy that does not have negative environmental side effects. Thus, the improvement of managerial and financial accounting to provide more environmental information and accountability by governmental and nongovernmental institutions is increasingly important in guiding us toward wiser choices. Since the 1970s, the increasing concerns about the environment in the United States have led to improved regulation and more comprehensive environmental reporting requirements and accounting standards. Also, global institutions have been created to foster voluntary reporting of both direct and indirect environmental impacts of their activities by institutions. However, evidence suggests that, while some large global firms have found it useful to engage in sustainability reporting throughout their operations, in general, the US organizational environmental reporting is not strong and is oriented toward the legal minimum when present. If we are to take account of the many direct and indirect ways in which our production choices affect our environment, then our institutions need to play a larger role in informing our choices. Both the Environmental Managerial Accounting Initiative and an enhanced balanced scorecard approach are recommended as frameworks for future efforts; public and private institutions must also include life cycle analysis in decision-making systems in order to enhance their ability to help achieve sustainable economic progress.
This research investigates whether authoritative guidance regarding financial statement disclosures is incorporated into practice as envisioned by the promulgating body…
This research investigates whether authoritative guidance regarding financial statement disclosures is incorporated into practice as envisioned by the promulgating body. Such assimilation is important from the standpoint of corporate accountability reporting as well as development of greater transparency in the extant accounting model. Specifically, we empirically test whether American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Statement of Position 96-1 led to improved reporting of environmental remediation costs and liabilities.
A repeated-measures design was used to assess the level of disclosure by 126 large U.S. firms, each of which had been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as being potentially responsible for the cost of cleanup efforts at multiple Superfund sites. By performing a content analysis of the pre- and post-issuance annual reports of these companies, a disclosure score was derived for each. Comparison of disclosures in the two fiscal periods following the effective date of this new guidance with the pre-issuance reporting shows no overall enhancement or improvement in either the level or quality of disclosures. We conclude that when viewed from the perspective of the two years subsequent to its effective date the promulgation of this additional authoritative reporting and display guidance did not attain the espoused objective.
This research provides accounting-ethics authors and administrators with a benchmark for accounting-ethics research. While Bernardi and Bean (2010) considered publications…
This research provides accounting-ethics authors and administrators with a benchmark for accounting-ethics research. While Bernardi and Bean (2010) considered publications in business-ethics and accounting’s top-40 journals this study considers research in eight accounting-ethics and public-interest journals, as well as, 34 business-ethics journals. We analyzed the contents of our 42 journals for the 25-year period between 1991 through 2015. This research documents the continued growth (Bernardi & Bean, 2007) of accounting-ethics research in both accounting-ethics and business-ethics journals. We provide data on the top-10 ethics authors in each doctoral year group, the top-50 ethics authors over the most recent 10, 20, and 25 years, and a distribution among ethics scholars for these periods. For the 25-year timeframe, our data indicate that only 665 (274) of the 5,125 accounting PhDs/DBAs (13.0% and 5.4% respectively) in Canada and the United States had authored or co-authored one (more than one) ethics article.
In this chapter, we examine whether corporate environmental reporting (CER) by listed companies in Kenya improves stock liquidity. The investigation is motivated by the…
In this chapter, we examine whether corporate environmental reporting (CER) by listed companies in Kenya improves stock liquidity. The investigation is motivated by the growing interest by corporations, investors, and regulators toward embracing ecological protection with a view to creating sustainable societies for the future.
Using a panel dataset comprising of 244 firm-year observations from 50 listed firms in Kenya over a five-year period (2011 to 2015), we perform fixed-effects regressions to discern whether CER is associated with stock liquidity. To examine this, we utilize bid-ask (as well as quoted) spreads measured over month −9 to month +3 relative to a firm’s year end.
Despite the seemingly low levels of CER across firms in the sample (average: 32.6%), the results depict that CER is positively associated with stock liquidity. The results are robust even when we consider changes in bid-ask spreads and CER together with the other variables. The same results emerge when we study the association between bid-ask spreads and each CER item at a time over the period 2011–2015.
The results imply that listed companies in Kenya that engage in higher CER seem to be more attractive to investors. The higher CER seems to improve the information environment, hence reducing information asymmetry and therefore attracting investors. The results provide some evidence of positive economic consequences of engaging in additional disclosure over and above the traditional corporate financial reporting.
The study adds onto the dearth of literature on the economic consequences of embracing additional disclosure frameworks in developing countries where the adoption of alternative reporting frameworks is at infancy.
This experimental study examined whether sustainability performance measures matter in managerial appraisal and bonus decisions. Participants received financial and…
This experimental study examined whether sustainability performance measures matter in managerial appraisal and bonus decisions. Participants received financial and non-financial information about four branch managers of a commercial bank, with different combinations of sustainability and financial performance. Participants perceived sustainability measures as being less important than financial ones; still, the experiment revealed that sustainability performance had some impact on appraisal and bonus decisions (albeit it mattered less than financial performance). Evaluators seemed to penalize inferior sustainability performance less than they penalized inferior financial performance. They also seemed to reward sustainability success less than financial success. These findings have practical implications for the implementation of sustainability measures in managerial evaluation systems. The experimental results indicated that incorporating these measures in evaluations does not necessarily mean they will have a sizable effect in decision-making. Results from a companion experiment suggested that organizations using a sustainability balanced scorecard for appraisal and bonus purposes might benefit from an increased emphasis on communication and evaluator training, with a focus on how sustainability performance impacts the attainment of strategic objectives.
This paper is concerned with financial statement disclosure of environmental liabilities by companies that are coming to the US securities market for the first time in an…
This paper is concerned with financial statement disclosure of environmental liabilities by companies that are coming to the US securities market for the first time in an initial public offering (IPO). This specific disclosure type has not been previously reported on in the accounting literature. Compares 26 IPO firms identified as potentially responsible parties (PRPs) in Superfund sites with a closely matched (on the attributes of industry classification and asset size) group of publicly held PRPs. The objective is to observe whether there is a differentially higher level of environmental disclosure by the IPO group during the year of heightened securities market scrutiny as the IPO occurs. Data are collected through content analysis of annual reports and SEC Form 10‐Ks. The results from this study show that no different level of environmental disclosure was identified in the matched‐pair sample. The more intense inspection, the higher stakes in an IPO situation and the enhanced due diligence procedures are of no apparent consequence in simulating a greater amount or quality of environmental disclosure. Strict disclosure mandates and expected public scrutiny do not appear to ensure the anticipated level of accounting statement disclosure concerning environmental liabilities.
This study investigates whether CEOs exercise discretion in recognizing environmental liabilities surrounding their turnover. Extant theories on the agency problem predict…
This study investigates whether CEOs exercise discretion in recognizing environmental liabilities surrounding their turnover. Extant theories on the agency problem predict that outgoing CEOs tend to boost or maintain the reported earnings in their final years (“Horizon” problem or “Cover-up”) and incoming CEOs sacrifice the reported earnings in their transitions year (“big-bath”). We find empirical evidence that incoming CEOs recognize significantly higher environmental liabilities in their transition year compared to the following years, supporting the “big-bath” hypothesis. This finding provides evidence that CEOs use environmental liabilities as a tool of earnings management surrounding their turnover in an attempt to maximize their accounting-based compensation.
We investigate the state of environmental financial reporting since the increased regulation imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory bodies…
We investigate the state of environmental financial reporting since the increased regulation imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory bodies during the 1990s by examining mandatory environmental disclosures for a sample of petroleum firms. Our results indicate that while the majority of firms stated that they accrued remediation liabilities and environmental exit costs, only about half or less of these firms disclosed the amount of the accrual, even though disclosure is required if the amount is material. Consistent with prior research, we find that cross-sectional variation in disclosure is positively related to firm size and financial leverage. Our results show that environmental disclosures increased during the 1990s, concurrent with increased regulatory pressure and corresponding threats to oil companies’ legitimacy. Firms’ disclosure levels in 1998 were strongly related to their disclosure levels in 1989 –i.e., those companies that reported more (less) information in 1989 did the same in 1998. Thus, individual firms appear to have distinctive environmental disclosure policies.
In 2009, Newsweek published a report in which they ranked the 500 largest US companies and the 100 largest global companies based on its environmental performance measures…
In 2009, Newsweek published a report in which they ranked the 500 largest US companies and the 100 largest global companies based on its environmental performance measures (http://greenrankings2009.newsweek.com/). This ranking is referred to as Newsweek’s Green Ranking. Included in this ranking is information about water and air pollution, solid waste disposal, toxic wastes, carbon emissions, and enforcement actions. The question we are addressing in this study is how well it measures pollution performance? The question is relevant to environmental accounting/reporting since it is part of a dilemma yet to be answered: Aggregated environmental indices/scores are easy for average information users to percept, while specific information may not be preserved when it is aggregated into the overall score(s).
Specifically, we examine whether Newsweek’s Green Ranking is correlated with pollution measures based on Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) in order to determine how valid or reliable Newsweek’s Green Ranking is – in other words, how much Newsweek’s Green Ranking can explain the pollution by the toxic releases. We find that there is no significant correlation between Newsweek’s Green Ranking and the TRI measures except for the firms in the utilities industry. Concluding that on one measure, which we consider a very important one, there is no justification for the overall Green Ranking Score presented by Newsweek. However, in Newsweek’s three-part score the element that is termed the Environmental Impact Score captures pollution performance measured based on TRI. The contrast between the overall ranking and performance ranking indicates that a composite index that incorporates hard performance and soft measures can dilute the information carried by performance data.