اداره امور شرکت ، آافشاگری ها و عملکرد محیطی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|88||2011||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Advances in Accounting, Volume 27, Issue 2, December 2011, Pages 223–232
In this study the relationships between good corporate governance practices and environmental performance and disclosure are examined. Firms that are among the major emitters of toxic emissions in the United States comprise the sample for the study. Pollution performance is measured using a methodology that includes both the toxicology of the emissions and the population density of the community. A corporate governance measure and a pollution disclosure evaluation that were previously presented in the accounting literature are utilized in the study to validate the main performance measure. The findings indicate that there is no relationship between good governance and good pollution performance. Additionally good governance is positively related to pollution disclosure while the correlation does not hold when governance was improved by SOX. The overall findings support legitimacy theory. This may indicate that the story about pollution performance is better than the actual outcome.
United States environmental regulations have forced firms from industries that pollute to reduce their emissions. There are pollution regulations governing the air, water and land and this has impacted many firms, especially those from the chemical, pulp and paper, metals, oil and gas and electric utility industries. How successful firms have been in reducing pollution and how transparent they are in reporting their efforts is an open question (see, for example, GAO, 2004). Corporate scandals of the last decade led to the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley which had a focus on the financial aspects of corporate governance. Requiring independent directors, more autonomy of the audit committee and the appearance of more accountability by the chief executive officer (CEO) and the chief financial officer (CFO) were all elements of this corporate governance focus. However, prior to the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley many firms had in place good governance mechanisms. What we examine in this study is whether good corporate governance is related to relatively better pollution performance and/or pollution disclosures. Given the disparate interests in corporate governance, the term ‘good’ can be fairly fuzzy in this context. At least two perspectives are influential: a stakeholder view and a financial-centric one. The former perspective focuses on the balance of the financial and socio-political performances. Particularly, good governance is perceived by many people as a wide spectrum that covers financial as well as socio-political aspects of corporate performance. If firms have set up good governance practices to be more accountable to their stakeholders then part of this accountability should include minimizing environmental degradation and reporting on whatever they have done. Recognizing that the way these industries have evolved in the US, like in many other nations, all firms in these industries will have a pollution problem to some extent. Therefore, good governance in the broader sense, if it makes any difference, will be in reducing the magnitude of the problem as opposed to eliminating it. Taking the financially-centric perspective, one may intuitively expect firms to maximize profit at the expense of other factors that might impede the maximization. However, mixed results in the body of literature concerned with voluntary disclosure and environmental capital investment (e.g. Clarkson, Li, & Richardson, 2004) show that the chase for only profit can also lead to better environmental performance and disclosure. However, other studies contend that firms may not financially benefit from better environmental performance and may use environmental disclosure as a tool to manipulate public opinion (e.g. Patten, 2000). Researchers have examined how environmental performance and disclosure are related to specific aspects of corporate governance, such as board composition (Brammer & Pavelin, 2006), board size, outside directorships and inside ownerships (Kassinis & Vafeas, 2002). Overall, the selection of the specific aspects in these studies tends to bias towards those that are likely to directly affect environmental performance and disclosure. Consequently these discrete aspects cannot be considered as the indicators or measures of how ‘good’ the overall corporate governance of a firm is. A model of the relationships between corporate governance, environmental performance and disclosure is less salient to test for voluntary disclosure incentives if the model utilizes only these aspects since the selected aspects may not drive any economic incentive. Particularly, if environmental performance and disclosures are endogenized with economic incentives (Al-Tuwaijri, Christensen, & Hughes, 2004), a model that uses only discrete measures may be subject to criticism of the holders of such theories. Hence, to answer the question whether ‘good’ corporate governance is related to better pollution performance and disclosure as well as to reconcile these two theories, an overall measure (index) of corporate governance is desirable. Using a governance index developed by Brown and Caylor (2006), innovative pollution performance measures documented in the environmental literature and the disclosure measures created by Freedman and Stagliano (2008), we test the associations between these three constructs. We find good governance and pollution performance were unrelated. Additionally, we find a positive relation between good governance and pollution disclosures. Apparently, accountability may better relate to telling the story as opposed to improving it. The rest of the paper is organized as follows: we present the background for measuring pollution performance and disclosures and corporate governance. Next our hypotheses are developed and the methodology is explained. Results and analysis are presented followed by implications and conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this study the relations between corporate governance and pollution performance and disclosure were examined. The examination also provides evidences to reconcile the competing theories about the incentives of environmental performance and disclosure. Four (4) hypotheses were developed to make contrasts between voluntary disclosure, stakeholder and legitimacy theories. Using Gov-Score (Brown & Caylor, 2006), a number of new metrics of pollution emissions and a pollution disclosure score developed by utilizing Freedman and Stagliano's schema (2008) the hypotheses were tested. The primary findings of the study indicate that there is a positive relationship between good governance and pollution disclosure in the early years after SOX. The relationship diminished after the enhancement of corporate governance by SOX. No relationship between governance and pollution performance or between pollution performance and pollution disclosure was identified. A possible conclusion that can be drawn based on this finding is that well governed firms try to project an image of being a good corporate citizen when their performance belies that image. The firms are also likely to focus on the projection of its good image on the high profile issues. This view is consistent with legitimacy theory in that firms provide data to society that is consistent with what society desires of their corporate citizens. However, the image and the actions are inconsistent (see Patten, 1991 and Patten, 1992). The study has a number of limitations. It relies on a corporate governance index which is developed with a financial accountability focus. Therefore the conclusions should be used with caution. The pollution performance measure utilizes TRI which is only concerned with hazardous chemical emissions and thus is an incomplete measure of pollution performance. TRI impacts only certain industries and that limits the generalizability of any findings. Pollution disclosures are categorized using a model which may only capture a portion of these disclosures. Despite these limitations the results of this study seem to indicate that image is more important than performance where pollution is concerned. This is a sad result for the inhabitants of the US and it should lead to a call for companies to do more in terms of cleaning up the environment than just telling a good story.