Environmental Reporting by the Fortune Global 250: Exploring the Influence of Sector and Nationality
Posted: 14 Apr 2001
While research on environmental reporting frequently includes large multinational enterprises, the number of surveys that systematically analyses a whole set of such firms, including the non-reporters, is limited - and mainly focuses on the United States. This article presents the state of environmental reporting by the Fortune global 250, all large multinationals with a potentially large impact on other firms. Of these 250 firms, 35% have a recent environmental report, with another 32% publishing other types of environmental information. Reporting frequencies between the financial and non-financial sector differed considerably with 15% and 44% respectively. Besides an analysis of the number and contents of environmental reports, the importance of sectorial differences and firms' nationality is also considered. A framework is developed which posits the existence of reporting legislation in firms' home countries (some in place/pending, or none) against the direct environmental impact of the sector (large or small). The results of the analysis fit partially in this framework. Only a small number of reporting firms originates from countries with some kind of legislation (particularly the Netherlands), but national societal pressure seems to play a large role (especially in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany). Many operate in sectors with a substantial direct environmental impact (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil, and motor vehicles and parts); reporting in sectors with more indirect effects is getting off the ground.
JEL Classification: K32, M14, G38, H79, M41, M45, Q20, F23
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