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Disclosure on the Sustainable Development Goals – Evidence from Europe


Hummel, Katrin; Szekely, Manuel (2022). Disclosure on the Sustainable Development Goals – Evidence from Europe. Accounting in Europe, 19(1):152-189.

Abstract

This study examines disclosure on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in firms’ annual reports. For a sample of European firms listed in the STOXX Europe-600 index and a reporting period of four years, we use textual analysis to assess both firms’ explicit reference to the SDGs in their annual reports as well as the implicit prevalence of SDG topics. In addition, we use content analysis to manually assess the quality of firms’ disclosure on the SDGs based on eleven reporting items. The results show a substantial increase in SDG reporting quality over time but a distinct lack of disclosure of quantitative and forward-looking information. Further analyses reveal the relevance of both financial and non-financial stakeholders. Specifically, SDG disclosure is particularly associated with a high relevance of socially responsible investors, customers or environment-related public pressure, while financial analysts, employees and the media are not associated with SDG disclosure.

Abstract

This study examines disclosure on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in firms’ annual reports. For a sample of European firms listed in the STOXX Europe-600 index and a reporting period of four years, we use textual analysis to assess both firms’ explicit reference to the SDGs in their annual reports as well as the implicit prevalence of SDG topics. In addition, we use content analysis to manually assess the quality of firms’ disclosure on the SDGs based on eleven reporting items. The results show a substantial increase in SDG reporting quality over time but a distinct lack of disclosure of quantitative and forward-looking information. Further analyses reveal the relevance of both financial and non-financial stakeholders. Specifically, SDG disclosure is particularly associated with a high relevance of socially responsible investors, customers or environment-related public pressure, while financial analysts, employees and the media are not associated with SDG disclosure.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Business and International Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Accounting
Social Sciences & Humanities > Finance
Uncontrolled Keywords:Finance, Accounting, Business and International Management
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:2 January 2022
Deposited On:17 Oct 2022 07:48
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1744-9480
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/17449480.2021.1894347
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:22839
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)