Determinant factors of corporate environmental information disclosure: an empirical study of Chinese listed company

In Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume (Issue): 17(2009)
Peer-reviewed Article

In order to help understand the environmental disclosure mechanism from the corporate perspective, this paper identifies the determinant factors affecting the disclosure level of corporate environmental information on the basis of stakeholder theory, and gives an empirical observation on Chinese listed companies. The corporate environmental information disclosure (EID) level appears to be marginal in current Chinese context. Nearly 40% of the sampled companies opened no substantial environmental data to the public as could be seen from the content analysis of disclosed information. The present condition is that the EID strategy of Chinese listed companies is oriented to fill up the government’s environmental concerns. The corporate EID effort is significantly relative to its environmental sensitivity (a proxy of the pressure from the government) and its size. The role of other stakeholders, like shareholders and creditors tested in this study in effecting the EID, is found to be still weak. Another interesting finding is that the sampled companies are selectively opening their environmental information. Companies operating in eastern coastal regions, where the economy has been relatively developed, are more likely to disclose emission-related data. The better the company’s economic performance, the more information on environmental investment and pollution control cost is disclosed. More concerns of the firm’s stakeholders on environmental issues shall be promoted in order to encourage Chinese enterprises to disclose more environmental information and accordingly become more proactive for improving their environmental performance.