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Corporate sustainability disclosure’s importance in China: financial analysts’ perception

Zhang, J., Djajadikerta, H.G. and Trireksani, T. (2019) Corporate sustainability disclosure’s importance in China: financial analysts’ perception. Social Responsibility Journal, 16 (8).

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Purpose: Corporate sustainability in China has become a subject of increasing international concern. Corporate sustainability disclosure (CSD) is considered a useful tool to facilitate the empowerment and acknowledgement of stakeholders in the quest for sustainability. However, the degree of cultural and political influences for being sustainably orientated can be significantly different between countries. This study aims to examine the perception of financial analysts, as CSD report users, in China about the level of importance of various indicators of corporate sustainability described in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

Design/methodology/approach: A set of questionnaires was developed based on GRI G4 guidelines to measure the perception of financial analysts in China on the level of importance of each sustainability indicator described in the GRI G4. A five-point Likert scale was used to measure the report users’ perceptions of each of the indicators.

Findings: The findings of this study increase our understanding of how Chinese CSD report users perceive corporate sustainability differently from the GRI guidelines. The main results show that the environmental aspect of sustainability was seen to be important in China, followed by the social and economic aspects. Indicator-wise, “water”, “effluents and waste”, “emissions”, “compliance” and “energy” were perceived as vital in the environmental category, while “customer health and safety”, “customer privacy” and “compliance” were considered significant in the social category.

Originality/value: This study addresses the need for differing corporate sustainability guidelines for different nations and cultures, specifically within the Chinese context. It also contributes to the corporate sustainability literature by adding to our understanding of how financial analysts in China, as CSD report users, perceive aspects of sustainability

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Business
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Copyright: © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited
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