Voluntary greenhouse gas emission disclosure impacts on accounting-based performance: Australian evidence

Zahra Borghei*, Philomena Leung, James Guthrie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Using a cost-benefit framework, this research examines the impact of voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) disclosure on accounting-based performance. Previous studies suggest that the implementation of carbon management and reporting may be associated with the improvement of accounting-based performance by the identification of cost savings opportunities or the introduction of innovation opportunities in products and services. This study is the first that applies several proxies of accounting-based performance, such as, return on assets, return on equity and return on sales, to empirically examine the association between voluntary GHG disclosure by non-GHG registered Australian companies and accounting-based performance. The level of GHG disclosure is scored through content analysis of the annual reports of sample organisations for the financial years 2009 to 2011. This research highlights that GHG disclosure is positively associated with ROA in the year following disclosure. The findings are consistent with the predictions of the cost-benefit framework. It indicates that companies bear the extra voluntary disclosure costs to gain the perceived benefits of voluntary disclosure. Our findings are useful for organisations and stakeholders who are concerned about the cost-benefit of voluntary carbon disclosure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-338
Number of pages18
JournalAustralasian Journal of Environmental Management
Issue number3
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • accounting-based performance
  • climate change
  • content analysis
  • GHG emission
  • NGER Act 2007
  • voluntary disclosure


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