In the field of sustainability reporting (SR), the so-called “Integrated Report” (IR) is gaining momentum. In spite of its voluntary nature, a growing number of firms are adopting IR by participating in the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Pilot Programme. Stimulated by concerns on the use of SR as a legitimation strategy, the paper investigates whether the decision to adopt an IR stems from the need to repair to legitimacy threats. By showing that IR adopters have significantly higher Bloomberg’s ESG disclosure ratings relative to non-adopters, we reject the hypothesis of firms adopting IR as a response of a poor rating. Additionally, we show that other proxies of legitimacy pressures (size, leverage, profitability, industry) do not play a role in explaining IR adoption. Overall, our evidence suggests that corporate engagement in IR is not a matter of strategic legitimation.

Corporate Sustainable Development: is “Integrated Reporting” a legitimation strategy?

LAI, Alessandro;Melloni, Gaia;STACCHEZZINI, Riccardo
2016-01-01

Abstract

In the field of sustainability reporting (SR), the so-called “Integrated Report” (IR) is gaining momentum. In spite of its voluntary nature, a growing number of firms are adopting IR by participating in the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Pilot Programme. Stimulated by concerns on the use of SR as a legitimation strategy, the paper investigates whether the decision to adopt an IR stems from the need to repair to legitimacy threats. By showing that IR adopters have significantly higher Bloomberg’s ESG disclosure ratings relative to non-adopters, we reject the hypothesis of firms adopting IR as a response of a poor rating. Additionally, we show that other proxies of legitimacy pressures (size, leverage, profitability, industry) do not play a role in explaining IR adoption. Overall, our evidence suggests that corporate engagement in IR is not a matter of strategic legitimation.
2016
integrated reporting; sustainability reporting; ESG ratings; legitimacy theory; sustainable development; communication strategy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/743364
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