Greenhouse Gas Disclosure and Emissions Benchmarking

70 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2019 Last revised: 30 Mar 2022

See all articles by Sorabh Tomar

Sorabh Tomar

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Accounting Department

Date Written: October 27, 2021


In 2010, the United States mandated the reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for thousands of manufacturing facilities. Studying this rule, and focusing on facilities for which emissions information was largely not available elsewhere, I find a 7.9% emissions reduction following disclosure. I highlight the role of ‘benchmarking’. Specifically, facilities are able to assess their own, relative GHG performance once they can observe their peers' disclosures. This benchmarking facilitates emissions reductions. In contrast, I highlight uncertainty around whether measurement and reporting to the regulator alone, prior to disclosure, leads to emissions reductions. Lastly, I show that concern about future legislation partly motivates the observed responses. The main takeaway is that mandatory, granular disclosure can curb GHG emissions, and that benchmarking plays an important role in this process.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility; Disclosure Regulation; Climate Change; Benchmarking; Peer Effects; Real Effects

JEL Classification: D22; D83; K32; L11; L21; L51; M41; M48; Q54; Q58

Suggested Citation

Tomar, Sorabh, Greenhouse Gas Disclosure and Emissions Benchmarking (October 27, 2021). SMU Cox School of Business Research Paper No. 19-17, European Corporate Governance Institute – Finance Working Paper No. 818/2022, Available at SSRN: or

Sorabh Tomar (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Accounting Department ( email )

United States

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