Do customers affect the value relevance of sustainability reporting? Empirical evidence on stakeholder interdependence

Max Goettsche, Tobias Steindl*, Simon Gietl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In spite of the strategic importance of sustainability reporting in current business practice and the resulting increase in research on its value relevance, studies accounting for stakeholder interdependence are scarce. On the basis of the instrumental stakeholder theory, we investigate whether customers have an impact on the value relevance of sustainability reporting. Using a sample of US listed firms, we show that the value relevance of sustainability reporting is affected by customer profile differences, thereby confirming customer-shareholder interdependence. However, customer profile effects are only predominant if firms' profitability levels are low and disappear as profitability increases. Overall, our findings provide a more nuanced understanding of the value relevance of sustainability reporting. Therefore, we offer managers fine-grained guidance for value relevant sustainability reporting. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-164
Number of pages16
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • customer profile differences
  • stakeholder interdependence
  • stakeholder theory
  • sustainable development
  • sustainability reporting
  • value relevance

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