Competitive Strategy and Voluntary Environmental Disclosure: Evidence from the Chemical Industry
Accounting and the Public Interest
In this paper, we investigate the relationship between corporate competitive strategy and environmental disclosure in the voluntary channel. Two major competitive strategies, investment in brand image and investment in research and development (R&D), are examined. Using a sample of companies in the chemical industry, we find that both strategies are associated with higher levels of environmental disclosure than chemical companies not emphasizing either of the two strategies. Additionally, companies emphasizing investment in brand image tend to disclose more when their actual environmental performance is low; conversely, companies emphasizing investment in R&D tend to disclose more when their environmental performance is good. When trying to interpret environmental disclosures, stakeholders should be aware of a company's strategy and adjust their assessment of environmental performance accordingly.