"Green Washing" or "Authentic Effort"? An Empirical Investigation of the Quality of Sustainability Reporting by Banks

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-01-2018-3330

39 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2020 Last revised: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Habib Khan

Habib Khan

University of Canberra

Sudipta Bose

Discipline of Accounting and Finance, Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle, Sydney, Australia

Abu Mollik

UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA

Harun

University of Canberra - Faculty of Business, Government and Law

Date Written: October 21, 2020

Abstract

Purpose – This study explores the quality of sustainability reporting (QSR) and the impact of regulatory guidelines, social performance and a standardised reporting framework (using the Global Reporting Initiative [GRI] guidelines) on QSR in the context of banks in Bangladesh.

Design/methodology/approach – Using a sample of 315 banking firm-year observations over 13 years (2002–2014), a content analysis technique is used to develop the 11-item QSR index. Regression analysis is used to test the research hypotheses.

Findings – Initially, QSR evolved symbolically in Bangladesh’s banks but, over our investigation period, with QSR indicators gradually improving, the trends became substantive. The influences on QSR were sustainable banking practice regulatory guidelines, social performance and use of the GRI guidelines. However, until banks improve reporting information, such as external verification and trends over time, QSR cannot be regarded as fully substantive.

Research limitations/implications – This study advances QSR research and debate among academic researchers. With regulatory agencies and stakeholders increasingly using sustainability reporting information for decision making, the information’s reliability is vital.

Originality/value – This study is the first on QSR in the banking industry context, with previous research mostly investigating the quantity of sustainability reporting. The current study also synthesises QSR with sustainability regulation and social performance factors which have rarely been used in the sustainability literature. To gain a holistic understanding of QSR, existing QSR measures are advanced by combining external reporting efforts with banks’ internalisation initiatives.

Keywords: Sustainability reporting quality, Green washing, Authentic effort, Banking industry, Bangladesh

JEL Classification: G21; G34; M14; M41

Suggested Citation

Khan, Habib and Bose, Sudipta and Mollik, Abu Taher and Harun, Harun, "Green Washing" or "Authentic Effort"? An Empirical Investigation of the Quality of Sustainability Reporting by Banks (October 21, 2020). Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-01-2018-3330, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3715959 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3715959

Habib Khan

University of Canberra ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Sudipta Bose (Contact Author)

Discipline of Accounting and Finance, Newcastle Business School, The University of Newcastle, Sydney, Australia ( email )

Sydney
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/sudipta-bose

Abu Taher Mollik

UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA ( email )

Australia

Harun Harun

University of Canberra - Faculty of Business, Government and Law ( email )

University Drive
Bruce, 2617
Australia

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