Corporate disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions : a UK study
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Two beliefs drove this dissertation to be centered on the analysis of the UK corporate disclosure (CD) related to global climate change (GCC). Firstly, GCC is the most significant environmental concern of our current age (IPCC, 2001; Stern, 2006; IPCC, 2007). Secondly, CD could illustrate the values of organizations and possibilities for changing organizations’ responsibility regarding to GCC (Gray et al., 1996; Bebbington and Larrinaga-Gonzalez, 2008; Bebbington et al., 2009). This study utilizes content analysis as its principal method and seeks to achieve its goal by way of a two investigations. The first investigation focuses on disclosures made by direct participants’ (DP) in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS). It captures GCC disclosures from both stand alone (SA) and annual reports (AR) during 2000 - 2004. This part of the study explores if joining the UK ETS changed GCC disclosures. This is tested on both a longitudinal and matched pair (MP) basis. An analysis using institutional theory suggests that instruments of environmental policy may influence GCC disclosures. Results showed that DP increased GCC disclosure, especially in the AR where mainstream business rationale is accepted. MP disclosures, in contrast, focus on the SA media and on different topics than DP disclosures. AR and SA both contain CD, but in this study they showed different patterns of disclosure and therefore may constitute different disclosure media. The second investigation suggests a method to compare GCC disclosure for a sample of DP and MP, using three different media: carbon disclosure project (CDP), AR and SA. Analysis shows that GCC disclosure did not provide sufficient information to compare GCC initiatives and disclosures. Despite the fact that organizations have similar characteristics in terms of sector, size and origin country, they showed different views on GCC issues and this may partially explain differences on GCC initiatives and disclosure.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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