Bidirectional effects between organizational sustainability disclosure and risk

Klarissa Lueg, Boris Krastev, Rainer Lueg

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

In organizational communication, sustainability reporting has taken on momentum. However, reporting on sustainability does not ensure the factual application of sustainable practices. It is possible that companies with risky practices increase their sustainability reporting as a window dressing measure, but also that sustainability reporting improves transparency and thus, decreases company risk. Our research is motivated by the conundrum that the reciprocal effects between risk and reporting are not yet fully understood. Therefore, this study explored the bidirectional relationship between sustainability disclosure and risk. The study investigated 59 listed companies from South Africa between 2012-2016. Environmental, social, and governmental scores were used to assess the effect of sustainability disclosure on total, systematic, and idiosyncratic risk. Fixed effects panel regressions, statistical modelling, and Granger causality tests were employed for the investigation. Analysis revealed that sustainability disclosure in general—and disclosure on social sustainability issues in particular—reduce systematic risk in subsequent periods. Additionally, other uni- and bidirectional effects were uncovered, suggesting that higher total risk, systematic risk, and idiosyncratic risk nudge companies to report more on social issues in subsequent periods. At the same time, tentative evidence could be found that higher systematic risk leads to less disclosure on governance issues. Overall, disaggregating sustainability disclosure into environmental, social, and governance issues helps getting a fine-grained understanding of its bidirectional relationships with total risk, systematic risk, and idiosyncratic risk. Managers benefit from these insights by better understanding how sustainable practices and disclosing information on them can improve the market’s assessment of a company’s systematic risk. Investors and regulators can learn from this study which reporting strategies managers typically choose as a response to changing risk perceptions in the market.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Cleaner Production
Vol/bind229
Sider (fra-til)268-277
ISSN0959-6526
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

Fingeraftryk

Sustainable development
sustainability
effect
Systematic risk
Sustainability
Disclosure
Industry
Managers
Granger causality test
Risk perception
risk perception
market
transparency
Total risk
Idiosyncratic risk
Sustainability reporting
Transparency
momentum
Momentum
communication

Citer dette

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Bidirectional effects between organizational sustainability disclosure and risk. / Lueg, Klarissa ; Krastev, Boris; Lueg, Rainer.

I: Journal of Cleaner Production, Bind 229, 2019, s. 268-277.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Bidirectional effects between organizational sustainability disclosure and risk

AU - Lueg, Klarissa

AU - Krastev, Boris

AU - Lueg, Rainer

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - In organizational communication, sustainability reporting has taken on momentum. However, reporting on sustainability does not ensure the factual application of sustainable practices. It is possible that companies with risky practices increase their sustainability reporting as a window dressing measure, but also that sustainability reporting improves transparency and thus, decreases company risk. Our research is motivated by the conundrum that the reciprocal effects between risk and reporting are not yet fully understood. Therefore, this study explored the bidirectional relationship between sustainability disclosure and risk. The study investigated 59 listed companies from South Africa between 2012-2016. Environmental, social, and governmental scores were used to assess the effect of sustainability disclosure on total, systematic, and idiosyncratic risk. Fixed effects panel regressions, statistical modelling, and Granger causality tests were employed for the investigation. Analysis revealed that sustainability disclosure in general—and disclosure on social sustainability issues in particular—reduce systematic risk in subsequent periods. Additionally, other uni- and bidirectional effects were uncovered, suggesting that higher total risk, systematic risk, and idiosyncratic risk nudge companies to report more on social issues in subsequent periods. At the same time, tentative evidence could be found that higher systematic risk leads to less disclosure on governance issues. Overall, disaggregating sustainability disclosure into environmental, social, and governance issues helps getting a fine-grained understanding of its bidirectional relationships with total risk, systematic risk, and idiosyncratic risk. Managers benefit from these insights by better understanding how sustainable practices and disclosing information on them can improve the market’s assessment of a company’s systematic risk. Investors and regulators can learn from this study which reporting strategies managers typically choose as a response to changing risk perceptions in the market.

AB - In organizational communication, sustainability reporting has taken on momentum. However, reporting on sustainability does not ensure the factual application of sustainable practices. It is possible that companies with risky practices increase their sustainability reporting as a window dressing measure, but also that sustainability reporting improves transparency and thus, decreases company risk. Our research is motivated by the conundrum that the reciprocal effects between risk and reporting are not yet fully understood. Therefore, this study explored the bidirectional relationship between sustainability disclosure and risk. The study investigated 59 listed companies from South Africa between 2012-2016. Environmental, social, and governmental scores were used to assess the effect of sustainability disclosure on total, systematic, and idiosyncratic risk. Fixed effects panel regressions, statistical modelling, and Granger causality tests were employed for the investigation. Analysis revealed that sustainability disclosure in general—and disclosure on social sustainability issues in particular—reduce systematic risk in subsequent periods. Additionally, other uni- and bidirectional effects were uncovered, suggesting that higher total risk, systematic risk, and idiosyncratic risk nudge companies to report more on social issues in subsequent periods. At the same time, tentative evidence could be found that higher systematic risk leads to less disclosure on governance issues. Overall, disaggregating sustainability disclosure into environmental, social, and governance issues helps getting a fine-grained understanding of its bidirectional relationships with total risk, systematic risk, and idiosyncratic risk. Managers benefit from these insights by better understanding how sustainable practices and disclosing information on them can improve the market’s assessment of a company’s systematic risk. Investors and regulators can learn from this study which reporting strategies managers typically choose as a response to changing risk perceptions in the market.

KW - Sustainability

KW - CSR

KW - Risks

KW - Market Risk

KW - Reporting

KW - Volatility

KW - Total risk

KW - Market risk

KW - Systematic risk

KW - Idiosyncratic risk

KW - ESG scores

KW - Sustainability disclosure

KW - South Africa

UR - https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Z1Vx3QCo9UsPr

U2 - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.04.379

DO - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.04.379

M3 - Journal article

VL - 229

SP - 268

EP - 277

JO - Journal of Cleaner Production

JF - Journal of Cleaner Production

SN - 0959-6526

ER -