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Title: Does certification contribute to a true commitment to sustainability? Impression management strategies in water disclosure
Authors: Fialho, Ana
Morais, Ana Isabel
Costa, Rosalina
Keywords: water reporting
impression management
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2019
Citation: Fialho, A., A. Morais e R. Costa (2019). Does Certification Contribute to a True Commitment to Sustainability? Impression Management Strategies in Water Disclosure. 8th Workshop on Accounting and Regulation, 27-29 June, Siena, Itália
Abstract: In this paper, we first analyse the level of companies’ involvement and commitment with environmental certification programs and sustainability standards (CDP and GRI). In a second step, we investigate, with content analysis, whether the involvement identified in the previous analysis is indeed effective and aligned with reality, i.e. if companies are really committed with actions needed to achieve sustainable development goals or if they adopt mainly strategies of impression management to make a good impression in their reports. We fulfil the first objective starting with an analysis of water-related disclosure in the annual information reported by 15 companies, listed on the annual water A-list of Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and from materials sector, that use the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) with A application level. We analyse the information disclosed about water for three years, 2014 to 2016 to include periods before (2014) and after (2015 and 2016) the creation of water A-list of CDP. Then, we analyse the content of the annual reports through an in-depth qualitative content analysis, developed over a corpus of selected reports, based on specific criteria, searching for impression management strategies. The content analysis focused on the years 2014 and 2016 that is one year before and after the inclusion of Water item in A-list of CDP. From this analysis, we identify four categories of good impression management strategies and we conclude that certification is used by companies as a self-promotion strategy. This paper shows that sustainability reports and water information do not allow stakeholders to draw conclusions about the real impact of companies’ activities on this important resource. This paper contributes to the accounting academic engagement, for stakeholders’ comprehension of sustainability information and for the regulators, governments and others entities, who are engaged in preparation of conceptual frameworks for climate and water reporting.
Type: lecture
Appears in Collections:GES - Comunicações - Em Congressos Científicos Internacionais

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