Greenhouse gas emissions disclosure by cities: the expectation gap

Mia Parvez, James Hazelton, Guthrie James*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Cities are crucial to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper aims to explore the quality of GHG disclosures by cities via the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and compares them with the expectations of users. 

Design/methodology/approach: The expectation gap framework is used to examine the GHG disclosure quality of 42 cities. User expectations are determined via a literature review and CDP documentation. City disclosures are reviewed using content analysis.

Findings: GHG information at the city level is outdated, incomplete, inconsistent, inaccurate and incomparable and, therefore, to meet user expectations, improvement is needed.

Research limitations/implications: The findings have implications for policymakers, stakeholders and managers. Guidelines are required for better disclosure of GHG information relating to cities, and stakeholders need to develop better skills to understand emissions information. Managers have a responsibility to measure, disclose and mitigate GHG emissions to meet the expectations of stakeholders.

Originality/value: Prior studies focus on GHG disclosures via the CDP by corporations. This is the first accounting study to examine GHG disclosures by cities via the CDP. The expectation gap framework is a novel approach to sustainability disclosure research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-709
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal
Issue number4
Early online date26 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2019


  • Carbon
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
  • City
  • Disclosure
  • Emission
  • Expectation gap
  • GHG


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