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Australian corporate responses to climate change: the Carbon Disclosure Project
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posted on 15.02.2017by Zhang, Shanshan
Climate change issues have increasingly attracted government, business and professional attention in recent years. More specifically, there is mounting evidence that indicates that human induced carbon emissions are a major cause of climate change. The objective of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is to ensure that investors are better informed about the risks and opportunities facing the largest quoted companies worldwide due to climate change (CDP 2007). This thesis investigates the factors that influence a company's decision to participate in and disclose corporate carbon emissions information via the CDP. The relationship between the extent of "solicited disclosure", corporate governance and total carbon emissions are also investigated. Factors influencing the degree of "solicited disclosure" are furthered examined as an additional analysis of the study. Company size, equity offerings and regulation regimes are found to be the significant determinants of corporate responses to the CDP. However a company's decision to reply to the CDP questionnaire is found not to be influenced by leverage. Companies representing the Utilities, Energy, and Industrials sectors are more likely to respond to the "solicited" CDP information request compared to other sectors, namely Consumer, Materials, Finance and Health Care sectors. Managerial ownership and total carbon emissions are found to be negatively related to the level of carbon disclosure, while the relationship between proportion of non-executive directors and disclosure is significantly positive. The results are consistent with the prediction of agency theory. Size, Equity Offerings, Utilities Sector and the companies' last year's CDP response are found to be the significant variables in explaining the variability of the degree of "solicited disclosure".