Firm-Value Effects of Carbon Emissions and Carbon Disclosures

The Accounting Review, March 2014, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 695-724

Posted: 4 Sep 2011 Last revised: 22 Jan 2015

Ella Mae Matsumura

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Accounting and Information Systems

Rachna Prakash

University of Mississippi - Patterson School of Accountancy

Sandra C. Vera-Munoz

University of Notre Dame - Department of Accountancy

Date Written: June 21, 2013

Abstract

Using hand-collected carbon emissions data for 2006 to 2008 voluntarily disclosed to the Carbon Disclosure Project by S&P 500 firms, we examine the effects on firm value of carbon emissions and of the act of voluntarily disclosing carbon emissions. Correcting for self-selection bias from managers’ decisions to disclose carbon emissions, we find that, on average, for every additional thousand metric tons of carbon emissions, firm value decreases by $212,000, where the median emissions for the disclosing firms in our sample are 1.07 million metric tons. We also examine the firm-value effects of managers’ decisions to disclose carbon emissions. We find that the median value of firms that disclose their carbon emissions is about $2.3 billion higher than that of comparable nondisclosing firms. Our results indicate that the markets penalize all firms for their carbon emissions, but a further penalty is imposed on firms that do not disclose emissions information. The results are consistent with the argument that capital markets impound both carbon emissions and the act of voluntary disclosure of this information in firm valuations.

Keywords: firm value, GHG emissions, carbon emission levels, voluntary environmental disclosures, disclosure choice

JEL Classification: G14, Q51, M14

Suggested Citation

Matsumura, Ella Mae and Prakash, Rachna and Vera-Munoz, Sandra C., Firm-Value Effects of Carbon Emissions and Carbon Disclosures (June 21, 2013). The Accounting Review, March 2014, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 695-724. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1921809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1921809

Ella Mae Matsumura

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Accounting and Information Systems ( email )

School of Business
975 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-262-9731 (Phone)
608-265-6040 (Fax)

Rachna Prakash (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi - Patterson School of Accountancy ( email )

200 Conner Hall
University, MS 38677
United States

Sandra C. Vera-Munoz

University of Notre Dame - Department of Accountancy ( email )

248 Mendoza College of Business
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5646
United States
574-631-9041 (Phone)
574-631-5255 (Fax)

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