Journal of Business Ethics 49 (2):143-165 (2004)

This paper's purpose is to assess how management's perceptions regarding certain aspects of environmental reporting relate to the firm's actual reporting strategy. Toward that end, we propose a model where a firm's environmental disclosure is conditional upon executive assessments of corporate concerns. The study relies on a survey that was sent to environmental management executives from European and North American multinational firms enquiring about the determinants of corporate environmental disclosure. Responses from these executives were then contrasted with their firms' actual environmental reporting practices, which was measured using a comprehensive multi-criteria grid. Results show that there is a relationship between environmental managers' attitudes toward various stakeholder groups and how those managers respond to the stakeholders via the decision to disclose and the actual disclosures made. Our model provides a perspective as to how a firm responds to the numerous stakeholders to whom it must be accountable. This accountability in turn relates to how the company communicates its actions to society in order to achieve or maintain its social legitimacy.
Keywords environmental disclosure  legitimacy theory  media exposure  stakeholder theory
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DOI 10.1023/B:BUSI.0000015844.86206.b9
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The Social Contract.Jean-Jacques Rousseau - 1950 - New York: Harmondsworth, Penguin.
The Stakeholder Theory of the Firm.Steven N. Brenner & Philip Cochran - 1991 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 2:897-933.

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