Corporate environmentalism: Tracing the links between policies and performance Using corporate reports and public registers

Within this paper, we consider whether it is possible to trace the links between the procedural and the substantive dimensions of corporate environmentalism using information that is in the public domain – most notably in corporate reports and in pollutant releases and transfer registers (PRTRs) such as the US Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and the EU Polluting Emissions Register (EPER). Based on an analysis of firms in the oil and gas sector, and specifically of the environmental performance of oil refineries, we find that corporate reports are of very limited value when seeking to compare and contrast levels of environmental performance at the site level, but that a significant body of useful information is provided by public registers such as the US TRI and the EU EPER. Drawing upon these data, we find significant variations in corporate environmental performance across the US and the EU, and we note the existence of significant correlations between higher levels of emissions and lower levels of employment and income in the areas where industrial facilities are located. We then discuss the relevance of our findings to broader debates on corporate environmentalism and corporate social responsibility. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

 Gouldson AP; Sullivan R (2007), Business Strategy and the Environment, 16, pp.1-11.