Social and Environmental Reporting

Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


This chapter reviews the literature on social and environmental reporting and it empirically analyzes three case studies on reporting practices. To date, it appears increasingly relevant to examine the social and environmental disclosure and manner of presentation that companies with diverse sizes select. Indeed, disclosures not only improves firms’ transparency and visibility but also enables firms to evaluate their wide range of social and environmental issues’ impacts, resulting in more accurate predictions about the risks and opportunities they face. To this end, the chapter first introduces the movements towards increased social and environmental disclosure, especially at the European level with Directive 2014/95/EU. It then shows the choices concerning social and environmental reporting of three Italian companies in the food and beverage industry. The scope is to understand whether there are significant burdens that impede small/medium companies—compared to the larger counterparts—to prepare such disclosures or whether, regardless of their smaller size, these types of firms can successfully respond to the growing stakeholders’ expectations of corporate disclosure with regard to social and environmental impact.


  1. Adams CA (2002) Internal organisational factors influencing corporate social and ethical reporting beyond current theorising. Account Audit Account J 15(2):223–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bebbington J (1997) Engagement, education and sustainability: a review essay on environmental accounting. Account Audit Account J 10(3):365–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown J (2009) Democracy, sustainability and dialogic accounting technologies: taking pluralism seriously. Crit Perspect Account 20(3):313–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cheng B, Ioannou I, Serafeim G (2014) Corporate social responsibility and access to finance. Strateg Manag J 35(1):1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cho CH, Patten DM (2007) The role of environmental disclosures as tools of legitimacy: a research note. Acc Organ Soc 32(7-8):639–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cho CH, Michelon G, Patten DM, Roberts RW (2015a) CSR disclosure: the more things change…? Account Audit Account J 28(1):14–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cho CH, Laine M, Roberts RW, Rodrigue M (2015b) Organized hypocrisy, organizational façades, and sustainability reporting. Acc Organ Soc 40:78–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cooper DJ, Sherer MJ (1984) The value of corporate accounting reports: arguments for a political economy of accounting. Acc Organ Soc 9(3–4):207–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooper C, Taylor P, Smith N, Catchpowle L (2005) A discussion of the political potential of Social Accounting. Crit Perspect Account 16(7):951–974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cormier D, Gordon IM (2001) An examination of social and environmental reporting strategies. Account Audit Account J 14(5):587–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cormier D, Ledoux MJ, Magnan M (2011) The informational contribution of social and environmental disclosures for investors. Manag Decis 49(8):1276–1304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. CSR Europe, GRI (2017) Member State Implementation of Directive 2014/95/EU. A comprehensive overview of how Member States are implementing the EU Directive on Non-Financial and Diversity InformationGoogle Scholar
  13. Dhaliwal DS, Li OZ, Tsang A, Yang YG (2011) Voluntary nonfinancial disclosure and the cost of equity capital: the initiation of corporate social responsibility reporting. Account Rev 86(1):59–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dhaliwal DS, Radhakrishnan S, Tsang A, Yang YG (2012) Nonfinancial disclosure and analyst forecast accuracy: international evidence on corporate social responsibility disclosure. Account Rev 87(3):723–759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dierkes M, Antal AB (1985) The usefulness and use of social reporting information. Acc Organ Soc 10(1):29–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dillard JF, Ruchala L (2005) The rules are no game: from instrumental rationality to administrative evil. Account Audit Account J 18(5):608–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dillard J, Vinnari E (2019) Critical dialogical accountability: from accounting-based accountability to accountability-based accounting. Crit Perspect Account 62:16–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eccles RG, Ioannou I, Serafeim G (2014) The impact of corporate sustainability on organizational processes and performance. Manag Sci 60(11):2835–2857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elkington J (1994) Towards the sustainable corporation: win-win-win business strategies for Sustainable Development. Calif Manag Rev 36(2):90–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Global Reporting Initiative (2015) G4 Sustainability Reporting GuidelinesGoogle Scholar
  21. Global Reporting Initiative (2016) GRI 101: FoundationGoogle Scholar
  22. Global Reporting Initiative (2017) Linking the GRI Standards and the European Directive on non-financial and diversity disclosureGoogle Scholar
  23. Global Reporting Initiative, United Nations Global Compact, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2017) SDG compass. Linking the SDGs and GRIGoogle Scholar
  24. Gray R, Owen D, Maunders K (1987) Corporate social reporting: accounting and accountability. Prentice-Hall International, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Gray R, Kouhy R, Lavers S (1995) Corporate social and environmental reporting: a review of the literature and a longitudinal study of UK disclosure. Account Audit Account J 8(2):47–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gray R, Owen D, Adams C (2010) Some theories for social accounting? A review essay and a tentative pedagogic categorisation of theorisations around social accounting. Adv Environ Account Manag 4:1–54Google Scholar
  27. ISTAT (2019) Rapporto sulla competitività dei settori produttivi. Istituto nazionale di statistica, RomaGoogle Scholar
  28. Jasch C (2003) The use of Environmental Management Accounting (EMA) for identifying environmental costs. J Clean Prod 11(6):667–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Killian S, O’Regan P (2016) Social accounting and the co-creation of corporate legitimacy. Acc Organ Soc 50:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lavazza (2018) Sustainability Report 2018. TurinGoogle Scholar
  31. Lehman G (2001) Reclaiming the public sphere: problems and prospects for corporate social and environmental accounting. Crit Perspect Account 12(6):713–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mathews MR (1997) Twenty-five years of social and environmental accounting research. Is there a silver jubilee to celebrate? Account Audit Account J 10(4):481–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mukki (2015) Annual Report 2015. FlorenceGoogle Scholar
  34. Murray A, Sinclair D, Power D, Gray R (2006) Do financial markets care about social and environmental disclosure? Account Audit Account J 19(2):228–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Parker LD (2005) Social and environmental accountability research. Account Audit Account J 18(6):842–860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Plumlee M, Brown D, Hayes RM, Marshall RS (2015) Voluntary environmental disclosure quality and firm value: further evidence. J Account Public Policy 34(4):336–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roberts RW (1992) Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure: an application of stakeholder theory. Acc Organ Soc 17(6):595–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rodrigue M, Magnan M, Cho CH (2012) Is environmental governance substantive or symbolic? An empirical investigation. J Bus Ethics 114(1):107–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Social Accountability International (2001) Social Accountability 8000Google Scholar
  40. Tate WL, Ellram LM, Kirchoff JF (2010) Corporate social responsibility reports: a thematic analysis related to supply chain management. J Supply Chain Manag 46(1):19–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tregidga H (2017) “Speaking truth to power”: analysing shadow reporting as a form of shadow accounting. Account Audit Account J 30(3):510–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Unioncamere (2003) I modelli di responsabilità sociale nelle imprese italiane. In collaboration with ISVI. In: Molteni M, Lucchini M (eds) I modelli di responsabilità sociale nelle imprese italiane. Franco Angeli, MilanoGoogle Scholar
  43. Yin RK (1981) The case study as a serious research strategy. Knowledge 3(1):97–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yin RK (2018) Case study research and applications. Design and methods, 6th edn. Sage, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AccountingMonash UniversityCaulfield East - MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

Personalised recommendations