Sustainability management and reporting: the role of integrated reporting for communicating corporate sustainability management

Riccardo Stacchezzini, Gaia Melloni, Alessandro Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

According to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), integrated reporting (IR) should disclose the leading indicators that managers use in their sustainability decision processes and thus overcome traditional silo thinking. In this respect, IR could favor the integrative management of sustainability. Yet some scholars are more critical and argue that IR cannot contribute to sustainability management.

This article contributes to the debate by analyzing how IR adopters communicate managerial aspects of corporate sustainability. Drawing on impression management studies, this study seeks to detect manipulations in this disclosure practice. A manual content analysis of reports available on the IIRC website and a multivariate statistical analysis reveal that firms offer biased IR disclosures. Firms not only provide limited forward-looking and quantitative disclosure of their actions to achieve sustainability outcomes but also avoid providing information about their sustainability performance when their social and environmental results are poor. The evidence suggests pessimistic conclusions about the capability of this reporting process to encourage the integrative management of corporate sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume136
Issue numberPart A
Early online date23 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • Integrated reporting
  • Sustainability management
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Sustainability accounting
  • Leading indicators
  • Impression management

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