Utility of reporting on pollution in financial statements as perceived by US corporations and statement users.

  • Peter Alex Boateng

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis consists of three broad parts and a collection of various separate pieces of research on reporting about pollution in financial statements. The need for these separate approaches is discussed as each different approach is introduced. Part I of the thesis has two chapters, the first of which introduces the pollution problem, puts it into proper perspective, and delineates the study's primary objectives. It explains the background and the significance of the study, lists the hypotheses and defines basic terms in the Appendix. It gives an explanation of the method of procedure in conducting the study, and the scope and limitation of the study set forth. The second chapter reviews the social responsibility doctrine and presents a chronological review of previous proposals and empirical studies that deal with social responsibility disclosures in Annual Reports. This chapter is important because it describes what has been proposed and done and thereby places this study in proper perspective, while the preceding chapter is based primarily upon existing literature. The bulk of the thesis consists of the empirical analysis which is primarily based on concepts developed in previous related literature discussed in Chapter II. The empirical work involves six chapters as follows: Chapters III and IV present the results of an original empirical study of 300 major corporations. Chapter III analyses company reports to find out where and how companies report pollution data. It also presents both the trend in each location of reference and the degree of content of each data reported. Chapter IV surveys corporate executives through a questionnaire to obtain data as to why companies report as they do. That chapter also presents the results of structured interview with the corporate executives. Chapters V and VI present the results of an original empirical study of financial statement users. Chapter V attempts to survey financial statement users through questionnaire to obtain data as to whether they need pollution data in the financial statements and if so why they need them. Chapter VI attempts to test the significance of pollution data by a field test. It also presents results of group feedback sessions with statement users. Chapter VI describes the pollution disclosure model that is developed using a manufacturing firm in the study. Basically this Chapter presents results of group feedback sessions with users and structured interviews with corporate executives for the development of the model. Chapter VIII applies the case study model to check other reports. In this Chapter the current state of pollution reporting in the published Annual Reports of 30 corporations is critically examined with the disclosure model to check deficiencies. Chapter IX, the last part of the thesis summarises the entire study and also presents conclusions based upon both library research and the empirical study. It also presents the contribution of the study and the author's recommendation for further research.
Date of Award1980
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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