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Title: Corporate responses to climate change reporting requirements in the UK
Author: Tang, Samuel Wa Sun
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 5797
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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UK-listed companies have multiple mandatory climate reporting requirements that aim to not only engage them in climate change, but also get them to take action beyond reporting. The thesis looks at the two latest mandatory requirements—‘Mandatory Carbon Reporting’, and ‘Adaptation Reporting Power’—and discusses what they mean for business performance and management of climate change. To understand the rationales, practices, and impacts of climate reporting on organisational cultures and behaviours an extensive desktop review analysed websites and Annual reports of 176 companies listed either on the FTSE 100 or as one of the UK’s critical infrastructure providers. This was supplemented by an intensive phase of 36 interviews with individuals representing 19 companies in one of four case-study sectors (e.g., Energy utility, Extractive, Financial service, Water); and an additional 24 third party conversations with Government officials, Regulators, Consultants, and Independent body organisations. It emerged that 93% of companies sampled regard climate change as meriting at least some engagement, with four levels of reporting identified, and a difference in the number of companies engaged in carbon reporting (93%) and adaptation reporting (28%). Rationales for climate reporting mirror those for wider social and environmental reporting. Companies report because of potential win-win outcomes, they are legitimacy seeking, and/or want to ensure auditability. However, reporting per se does not necessarily lead to corporate action on climate change. Instead there are economic, reputational, and regulatory factors, and sectoral characteristics (e.g., environmental sensitivity, energy intensity) that affect reporting’s impact. This research has implications for the aims, designs and purposes of imposing reporting requirements to help business and society tackle climate change and the challenges presents. It contributes to a growing debate on the social implications of corporate reporting by highlighting the need to better understand what motivates businesses to not only disclose information, but also take action beyond reporting.
Supervisor: Demeritt, David Burgess ; Rothstein, Henry Frederick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available