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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2012

Wendy Green and Qixin Li

This paper aims to examine whether an expectation gap exists between different stakeholders (i.e. emissions preparers, emissions assurers and shareholders) in relation to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether an expectation gap exists between different stakeholders (i.e. emissions preparers, emissions assurers and shareholders) in relation to the assurance of greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the paper seeks to explore whether stakeholder expectations are influenced by the uncertainties inherent in the assurance engagement for different industry sectors (i.e. greenhouse gas emitter or greenhouse gas user entities).

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental survey was used to address the stated aims. Three stakeholder groups: shareholders, greenhouse gas emissions preparers and assurers, completed a survey based on the greenhouse gas emissions assurance for either an emitter or user entity.

Findings

The results provide support for the existence of an expectation gap in the emission assurance setting. Fundamental differences were identified between the stakeholder groups in relation to the responsibilities of the assurer and management; as well as the reliability and decision usefulness of the emissions statement. Moreover, the extent of the gap was found to differ between user entity engagements and emitter entity engagements.

Research limitations/implications

The paper highlights the need for the assurance services profession and assurance standard setters to consider mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of communicating the assurance function in this setting in order to enhance the credibility and social value of emissions assurance.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to examine the expectation gap in the greenhouse gas emissions assurance context. It thereby also contributes to the literature on the expectation gap in the assurance of non‐financial information. Moreover, the research findings provide standard setters with unique insights into areas to consider as they work toward the development of an international assurance standard for greenhouse gas emissions statements.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Wendy Green, Stuart Taylor and Jennifer Wu

This paper surveys corporate officers responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting and assurance to determine the attributes that influence their choice between an…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper surveys corporate officers responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting and assurance to determine the attributes that influence their choice between an accounting and a non-accounting GHG assurance provider. Differences in the relative importance of these attributes between those selecting accounting and non-accounting assurers are also explored.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey questionnaire was completed by 25 corporate officers responsible for reporting and voluntarily assurance of GHG emissions in Australia. The questionnaire asked the respondents to indicate the relative importance of 41 company and assurer attributes in influencing their assurance provider choice.

Findings

Results indicate that attributes related to the assurance provider, such as team and team leader assurance knowledge, reputation, objectivity and independence, are more influential than attributes related to the nature of the company or the nature of the GHG emissions. Attributes such as geographical dispersion of operations were found to be differently important to this decision between companies purchasing assurance from accounting and non-accounting firms.

Research limitations/implications

The study’s main limitation is the small number of participants. Future research may extend this study by exploring the conditions under which companies voluntarily assure GHG emissions as well the motivations of responsible officers in their assurer choice.

Practical implications

This paper provides valuable insights to GHG assurers to assist their understanding of the attributes that are important to potential GHG assurance clients.

Originality/value

The study makes unique contributions to the assurer choice literature by not only addressing this issue in the context of the dichotomous GHG assurance market but also by addressing it from the perspective of the assurance purchaser.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2012

Nonna Martinov‐Bennie

Global climate change has become a major societal issue providing the impetus for governments to legislate policy in order to manage and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG

Abstract

Purpose

Global climate change has become a major societal issue providing the impetus for governments to legislate policy in order to manage and mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To assess whether the use of biomass can reduce GHG emissions requires accounting, reporting and assurance methods and procedures. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate key challenges of GHG reporting and assurance with the example of the Australian framework.

Design/methodology/approach

This viewpoint, discussing GHG emissions reporting and assurance, critically analyses some of the key issues arising in practice, including the current state of organizations' systems and controls, the changing nature of governance structures as well as measurement challenges being experienced by companies regarding GHG reporting.

Findings

The paper finds that more rigorous governance frameworks and management systems are likely to evolve around GHG reporting given the recent introduction of the carbon pricing mechanism and its nexus to companies' financial performance as well as increased risks associated with inaccurate reporting.

Practical implications

The paper contains an overview of the current regulatory environment and key issues surrounding GHG reporting and assurance.

Originality/value

The management of GHG‐related issues has significant implications for organisations. The paper provides both practitioner and academic perspectives on the current issues and challenges within the GHG reporting context.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2013

Paul A. Griffin

This study aims to examine the impact of the emission allowances granted under California's cap‐and‐trade program (AB 32) – the first major program of its kind in the USA…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the impact of the emission allowances granted under California's cap‐and‐trade program (AB 32) – the first major program of its kind in the USA – on the balance sheets and income statements of the S&P 500. So far there has been little discussion of what a cap‐and‐trade program would mean for the US companies' financial statements.

Design/methodology/approach

The author states and tests an economic model of the relation between greenhouse gas emissions and financial statement variables at the individual company level and use this model to predict emission allowances and obligations for the S&P 500.

Findings

The author's analysis suggests that the average S&P 500 company's balance sheet and net income will be adversely affected under several different accounting treatments for emission allowances, with the greatest impacts in the utilities, energy, and materials sectors.

Practical implications

US and European regulators have yet to set a single standard for emissions accounting. Without a single standard, companies acting in their own interests may use diverse or unclear accounting treatments for similar economic benefits. This can raise the cost of capital and hurt investors.

Originality/value

This is the first study of which the author is aware to document how the emission allowances under the AB 32 cap‐and‐trade program will affect American companies' balance sheets.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2019

Ragini Rina Datt, Le Luo and Qingliang Tang

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of legitimacy threats on corporate incentive to obtain external carbon assurance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of legitimacy threats on corporate incentive to obtain external carbon assurance.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample consists of the largest US companies that disclosed carbon emissions to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) over the period 2010-2013. Based on legitimacy theory, firms are more likely to obtain carbon assurance when they are under greater legitimacy threat. Carbon assurance is measured using CDP data. Three proxies are identified to measure legitimacy threat related to climate change: carbon emissions intensity, firm size and leverage.

Findings

This paper finds that firms with higher levels of emissions are more likely to obtain independent assurance, and large firms show the same tendency, as they are probably under pressure from their large group of stakeholders. In sum, the findings suggest that firms with higher carbon emissions face greater threats to their legitimacy, and the adoption of carbon assurance can mitigate risks to legitimacy with enhanced credibility of carbon disclosure in stakeholders’ decision-making.

Research limitations/implications

The study has some limitations. The authors have relied on CDP reports for analysis and focus on the largest companies in the US. Caution should be exercised when generalising the results to smaller firms, other countries or voluntary carbon assurance information disclosed in other communications channels.

Practical implications

This study provides extra insights into and an improved understanding of determinants and motivation of carbon assurance, which should be useful for policymakers to develop policies and initiatives for carbon assurance. The collective results should be useful for practicing accountants and accounting firms.

Originality/value

The paper investigates how legitimacy threats affect firms’ choice of external carbon assurance in the context of US, which has not been documented previously. It contributes to the understanding of legitimacy theory in the context of voluntary carbon assurance.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Lyton Chithambo and Venancio Tauringana

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether four corporate governance mechanisms (board size, non-executive directors, ownership concentration and directors’ share…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether four corporate governance mechanisms (board size, non-executive directors, ownership concentration and directors’ share ownership) influence the extent of greenhouse gas (GHG) disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a mixed-methods approach based on a sample of 62 FTSE 1,000 firms. Firstly, the authors surveyed the senior management of 62 UK-listed firms in the FTSE 1,000 index to determine whether the corporate governance mechanisms influence their GHG disclosure decisions. Secondly, the authors used ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to model the relationship between the corporate governance mechanisms and GHG disclosure scores of the 62 firms.

Findings

The survey and OLS regression results both suggest that corporate governance mechanisms (board size and NEDs) do not influence GHG disclosures. However, the results of the two approaches differ, in that the survey results suggest that corporate governance mechanisms (ownership concentration and directors’ share ownership) do not influence the extent of GHG disclosure, while the opposite is true with the OLS regression results.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size of 62 firms is small which could affect the generalisability of the study. The mixed results mean that more mixed-methods approach is needed to improve the understanding of the role of corporate governance in GHG disclosures.

Originality/value

The use of mixed-methods to examine whether corporate governance mechanisms determine the extent of GHG voluntary disclosure provides additional insights not provided in prior studies.

Details

Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2019

Ragini Rina Datt, Le Luo and Qingliang Tang

This study aims to examine whether good carbon performers disclose more carbon information overall than poor performers, and if yes, how firms select different types of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine whether good carbon performers disclose more carbon information overall than poor performers, and if yes, how firms select different types of carbon information to signal their genuine superior carbon performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The level of disclosure is measured based on content analysis of Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reports. The study sample consists of 487 US companies that voluntarily participated in the CDP survey from 2011 to 2012. The authors use the t-test and multiple regression models for analyses.

Findings

The results consistently indicate that firms with better carbon performance disclose a greater amount of overall carbon information, supporting the signalling theory. In addition, in contrast to previous studies that merely consider the overall disclosure level, the authors also investigate disclosure of each major aspect of carbon activities. The results show that good carbon performers disclose more key carbon items, such as goods and services that avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, external verification and carbon accounting, to signal their true type.

Research limitations/implications

This study has some limitations. The authors rely on CDP reports for analysis and focus on the largest companies in the USA. Caution should be exercised when generalising the results to other countries, smaller firms or voluntary carbon information disclosed in other communications channels.

Practical implications

Because carbon disclosure has already been moving from a voluntary to mandatory requirement in many jurisdictions, the format and content of CDP reports might be considered for a formal standalone GHG statement. Based on the results, the authors believe that there should be industry-specific disclosure guidelines, and more disclosure should be made at the project level.

Originality/value

In the context of climate change, this study provides support for the signalling theory by utilising the relationship between voluntary carbon disclosure and performance. The study also provides empirical evidence on how companies may use different types of carbon information to signal their underlying carbon performance.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2014

Wayne Martindale

The purpose of this paper is to define the sustainability attributes of frozen and fresh food consumption in a typical household. The reason for writing this paper is that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to define the sustainability attributes of frozen and fresh food consumption in a typical household. The reason for writing this paper is that food preservation is often overlooked when developing sustainability strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses established carbon footprint data for specific food types and consumer survey data to determine how consumers use fresh and frozen products in the home. Consumption and waste data for 83 households was obtained using a combination of narrative and graphical association questions.

Findings

The results show greenhouse gas emissions associated with a diets containing frozen food are reduced because 47 per cent less frozen foods is wasted as compared to fresh foods with a typical household wasting 10.4 per cent of fresh food and 5.9 per cent frozen food.

Research limitations/implications

This research has highlighted the importance of understanding the waste impacts of catering and food service consumption outside the home.

Practical implications

This research will guide future product development for frozen foods with regard to dietary planning and portion control.

Social implications

The cost and sustainability benefits of meal planning are identified and these will inform policy making and education to improve dietary choices.

Originality/value

This work extends the scope of current consumer surveys that assess quality, value and taste attributes to sustainability criteria and it will enable collaboration between fresh and frozen product categories to deliver sustainable dietary options.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 116 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Ewan Sutherland

The paper aims to examine the reporting of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the telecommunications sector and to consider how the obligations and regulations…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to examine the reporting of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the telecommunications sector and to consider how the obligations and regulations imposed on operators affect what is considered as CSR compared to other sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a review of the academic literature on CSR, relating this to developments in the regulatory state and the adoption by governments and intergovernmental bodies of CSR instruments. Also, the paper conducts an analysis of coltan, greenhouse gas emissions and privacy as short case studies where CSR issues and regulations meet.

Findings

Many activities that in other sectors would be considered CSR are required by licence or legislation, together with much more detailed scrutiny and reporting.

Originality/value

The paper provides a review of existing literature on CSR in telecommunications, related to theories about CSR and the regulatory state.

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Watchaneeporn Setthasakko

This study attempts to gain an understanding of factors influencing the implementation of eco‐budgeting in food processing companies.

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to gain an understanding of factors influencing the implementation of eco‐budgeting in food processing companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs semi‐structured interviews with senior‐level managers, including CSR, production and environmental managers, as well as site observations at leading food processing companies in Thailand.

Findings

The study identifies three primary factors: value in economic growth, management vision, and social pressure. The presence of these factors will contribute to the implementation of eco‐budgeting.

Research limitations/implications

The study limits itself to Thailand, and therefore findings may not be applicable in other settings. To improve the generalization of the findings, future research should broaden the sample. It would also be beneficial to pursue comparative research between industries and countries.

Practical implications

Economic incentives are the driving force behind the application of eco‐budgeting and the improvement of environmental performance in the long run. In addition, implementation of eco‐budgeting would require an increase in the “green” vision and values throughout the organization.

Originality/value

The study defines the foundations for developing environmental sustainability and outlines an incentive scheme to reduce barriers to the implementation of eco‐budgeting in food processing companies.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 114 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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