Stakeholder pressures on corporate climate change-related accountability and disclosures: Australian evidence

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Abstract

This study investigates stakeholder pressures on corporate climate change-related accountability and disclosure practices in Australia. While existing scholarship investigates stakeholder pressures on companies to discharge their broader accountability through general social and environmental disclosures, there is a lack of research investigating whether and how stakeholder pressures emerge to influence accountability and disclosure practices related to climate change. We surveyed various stakeholder groups to understand their concerns about climate change-related corporate accountability and disclosure practices. We present three primary findings: first, while NGOs and the media have some influence, institutional investors and government bodies (regulators) are perceived to be the most powerful stakeholders in generating climate change-related concern and coercive pressure on corporations to be accountable. Second, corporate climate change-related disclosures, as documented through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), are positively associated with such perceived coercive pressures. Lastly, we find a positive correlation between the level of media attention to climate change and Australian corporate responses to the CDP. Our results indicate that corporations will not disclose climate change information until pressured by non-financial stakeholders. This suggests a larger role for non-financial actors than previously theorized, with several policy implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-390
Number of pages36
JournalBusiness and Politics
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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