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Corporate Carbon Emission and Financial Performance: Does Carbon Disclosure Mediate the Relationship in the UK?

Academic debate relating to the link between corporate environmental disclosures, environmental performance and financial performance is persistent and controversial. In this paper, we investigate whether and if so, how, carbon emission performance is related to corporate financial performance and how disclosures of carbon emission in the annual and standalone reports mediate such relationship. Specifically, we construct a 42-item disclosure index to quantify the quality of corporate carbon emission information of 62 FTSE 100 companies from the period of 2010 to 2012. We find that while carbon emission is negatively associated with financial performance, it is positively related to the level of carbon disclosures which is significantly and positively related to financial performance. The findings show that market responses to excessive carbon emission; however, companies with poor carbon performance tend to use disclosure strategically to manage the legitimacy threat and to reduce
the information asymmetry.

Published on 1st June 2016
Authors Dr Jessica Yang
Series Reference ICM-2016-03