The Impact of Carbon Disclosure Mandates on Emissions and Financial Operating Performance

45 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021

See all articles by Benedikt Downar

Benedikt Downar

Technische Universität München (TUM)

Jürgen Ernstberger

Technische Universität München

Stefan Reichelstein

Stanford University

Sebastian Schwenen

Technische Universität München (TUM); German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Aleksandar Zaklan

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

We examine whether a disclosure mandate for greenhouse gas emissions creates stakeholder pressure for firms to subsequently reduce their emissions. For UKincorporated listed firms such a mandate was adopted in 2013. Using a difference- indifferences design, we find that firms affected by the mandate reduced their emissions – depending on the specification – by an incremental 14-18% relative to a control group. This reduction was accompanied by an average 9% increase in production costs. At the same time, the treated firms were able to increase their sales by an almost compensating amount. Taken together, our findings provide no indication that the disclosure requirement led to a significant deterioration in the financial operating performance of the treated firms, despite the significant carbon footprint reduction following the disclosure mandate.

Keywords: Disclosure of non-financial information, mandatory disclosure, greenhouse gas emissions, real effects

JEL Classification: Q28, Q40, M41, M48

Suggested Citation

Downar, Benedikt and Ernstberger, Jürgen and Reichelstein, Stefan and Schwenen, Sebastian and Zaklan, Aleksandar, The Impact of Carbon Disclosure Mandates on Emissions and Financial Operating Performance (May 2020). TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency Working Paper Series No. 27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3853935 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3853935

Benedikt Downar

Technische Universität München (TUM) ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munich, DE 80333
Germany

Jürgen Ernstberger

Technische Universität München ( email )

Arcisstraße 21
Munich, 80333
Germany

Stefan Reichelstein

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Sebastian Schwenen (Contact Author)

Technische Universität München (TUM) ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munich, DE 80333
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Aleksandar Zaklan

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

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