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A Sustainability Disclosure Index Using Corporate Sustainability Reports

Papoutsi, A. & Sodhi, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-2031-4387 (2020). A Sustainability Disclosure Index Using Corporate Sustainability Reports. Journal of Sustainability Research, 2(2), e200020. doi: 10.20900/jsr20200020


Background: There are already many indices such as Bloomberg’s environmental-and-social governance (ESG) ratings and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DSJI), which use proprietary methods to rate companies using private and publicly available information processed with proprietary methods. This paper seeks to develop a formative index for researchers and practitioners using only publicly available sustainability reports with a transparent procedure.

Methods: Thirty-two indicators, obtained in an earlier study from the literature, GRI, and other sources, were adopted. The sustainability report of each of 331 companies was then scored on a discrete 0–3 scale for each indicator as regards disclosure. The index for the company then is simply a summation of the indicator scores. Tests were conducted to see if the index can be (a) used for companies with different revenues and from different sectors and (b) tested for explaining DJSI or ESG ratings.

Results: The index can be used for companies with a wide range of revenues and from different sectors. Despite its simplicity, the disclosure index significantly explains the DJSI and ESG.

Conclusions: A disclosure index for companies has been developed here using only their publicly available sustainability reports, unlike existing indices like the DJSI that use public and private information and proprietary methods. Researchers and financial institutions can use this index or develop their own indices by refining the methodology presented here.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright, the authors, 2020. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher Keywords: sustainability index; sustainability disclosure rating; corporate sustainability reports
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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