IMPACT OF SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING ON CORPORATE PERFORMANCE OF SELECTED QUOTED COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The principal objective of this research is to ascertain the Impact of Sustainability Reporting on Corporate Performance of Selected Quoted Companies in Nigeria. The specific objectives of this research are: to ascertain the level of impact of sustainability reporting on return on equity of companies listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange; to examine the level of impact of sustainability reporting on return on assets of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange; to ascertain the level of impact of sustainability reporting on earnings per share of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange; to examine the level of impact of sustainability reporting on net profit margin of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. This research employed ex-post facto design. The sample for the study was made up of 64 companies selected from 76 non financial companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. This research utilised secondary data. A model specification based on regression model was used. The statistical technique employed in testing the hypotheses was the student t – test statistic. Findings from this study show that Sustainability Reporting impacted positively on financial performance of companies investigated. Companies are therefore encouraged to adopt this reporting system.

TABLE OF CONTENT

List of Tables
List of Figures
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1.      Background of the study
1.2.      Statement of problem
1.3.      Objectives of the study
1.4.      Research questions
1.5.      Hypotheses of the study
1.6.      Scope of the study
1.7.      Limitations of the study
1.8.      Significance of the study
1.9.      Definition of terms

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1.     Introduction
2.2.     Conceptual framework
2.2.1    An overview of sustainability reporting
2.2.2    Sustainable Development, the Context for Sustainability Reporting
2.2.3    Methods of Sustainability Accounting
2.2.4    Benefits Associated With Sustainability Reporting
2.2.5    Stakeholders and Their Information Needs
2.2.6    How to Report on Sustainability/Bodies That Promote Sustainability Reporting
2.2.7    Corporate Performance
2.2.8    Sustainability Reporting and Accountability
2.3       Theoretical Framework
2.3.1    Legitimacy theory
2.3.2    Political Economy theory
2.3.3    Stakeholder Theory
2.4       Sustainability Reporting in Nigeria
2.5       Sustainability Reporting in Other Countries
2.6       Empirical Review
2.7       Summary of Reviewed Literature

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1Introduction
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Population and Sample
3.4 Model specification
3.5 Nature and sources of data
3.6 Techniques of data analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
4.1       Introduction
4.2       Data Presentation
4.3       Data Analysis
4.4     Test of the Research Hypotheses
4.5    Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARYOF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Introduction
5.2       Summary of Findings
5.3       Conclusion
5.4       Recommendations
5.5       Contribution to Knowledge
5.6       Suggestions for Further Studies
Bibliography
Appendices

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study
The over all objective of any organization is to consistently grow and survive on a long term basis. Most managers are also aware that their organizations are part of a large system which has profound direct and indirect influence on their operations. This implies that if these organizations must effectively and efficiently meet their objectives, they should properly adapt themselves to their environments.

Adapting organizations (especially firms) to their environments signifies a reciprocal or symbiotic relationship between the ‘duos’ as typified by systems model of viewing business. Considering the current environmental crisis, businesses must give more to their environment.  The environment in which businesses operate is on an unsustainable course. We are now faced with serious challenge of environmental changes such as global warming, health care and poverty. This situation is similar to what Welford (1997:3) described as tangible environmental crises (serious water shortage across around the world, global food insecurity and decline in fish catches). According to (Vlek & Steg 2007:3), Ezeabasili (2009:369) as human population continue to grow, material consumption intensifies and production technology further expands there is a steady decline in the quantity and quality of environmental resources. There is continuing concern about nature fragmentation and loss of biodiversity, shortages in freshwater availability, over-fishing of the seas, global warming, extreme weather events, air pollution, water pollution, environmental noise and utter neglect and disregard for the protection of the immediate environment, much more the future environment. This type of environmental unsustainability associated with continuously rising demand and a shrinking resource base now spills over into social and economic instability.

Following from the above, therefore, many are looking to business to be part of the solutions. For instance Welford (1997:5) maintains that business seems content to see the natural system on the planet disintegrating, people starving and social structures falling apart. Business is central to the problem and must be central to the solution. Indeed the expectations of corporate responsibility in areas such as environmental protection, human rights, human capital, and product safety are rising rapidly. Key stakeholders such as shareholders, employees, and financial institutions want business to be responsible, accountable and transparent.

Unerman, Bebbington and O’Dwyer (2007:2) on the other hand states that human activities taking place today are regarded by some people as having a detrimental impact on the society, ecology and economy which future generations will experience. Indeed, this is a position ever more widely accepted by growing numbers of people throughout the world. For example, only a very small proportion of scientists currently argue that human activity is not a major contributory factor to the global warming which is causing wide scale environmental damage – and which is likely to cause even more damage to the ecosphere unless substantive action is taken to reduce levels of many pollutants.

Many people argue that the growing social injustice experienced by ever larger numbers of people, and the growing damage to the ecosphere, are a result of a dominant – and almost unquestioned – objective of maximizing economic growth. In these terms economic growth (characterized by energy and material-intensive production and exploitative social relations) is socially and environmentally unsustainable. (Unerman et al, 2007:2)

Responding to these issues by business leaders help companies to mitigate risks, protect corporate brand and gain competitive advantage while helping to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for many. In some extreme cases, companies may see their licenses to operate threatened overnight if their key stakeholders perceived significant discrepancies between their own and the company’s values. Unerman et al (2007:2) maintains that one way to look at these issues is in terms of long-term need to ensure that economic activity is socially and environmentally sustainable. In the short-term it may be possible to have economic growth, while damaging society and the environment. In the long-term this is impossible. For example, businesses need a stable society in which to operate profitably (although some business might generate profit from addressing the outcomes of social conflicts, such as businesses offering security service).

Therefore, if business as a whole operates in a manner which causes damage to the society and thereby causes a break down in the social harmony necessary to provide a stable context for operation, then such business activities are neither  economically nor socially sustainable. In the longer term if  business activities cause a level of damage of the ecosphere such that it can not sustain human life on the scale we currently enjoy, then this is clearly neither socially nor economically sustainable as there can be no economic activities - let alone economic growth – without human life to sustain it.

There is now an increasing awareness that companies are made increasingly responsible for consequential environmental and social impact of their activities to the host communities and other stakeholders. According to Ekwueme (2011:45) the big corporations once looked upon as the exclusive concern of its owners is now viewed as being responsible to the society also. This implies that companies are no longer paying attention to the maximization of shareholders wealth alone but are embracing activities that tend to maximise the benefits accruable to all the stakeholders. This to a larger extent means that companies are responding positively towards issues of sustainability. Thus White (2009:5) maintains that “the pressure for corporations to reassure the public of their good behaviour has increased… organisations are paying attention to their stakeholders as well as their stockholders.” Business managers are beginning to see that this approach to conducting business has to become a part of the strategy for their companies in order to prosper in the future.
There is increased expectation for all companies to be more transparent in how they treat the environment, how they handle their corporate governance issues, how they treat their employees, and how they treat their communities. According to Epstein (2008:23) corporations have become more sensitive to social issues and stakeholder concerns and are striving to become better corporate citizens. Whether the motivation is concern for society and environment, government regulation, stakeholder pressures, or economic profit, the result is that managers must make significant changes to more effectively manage their social, economic and environmental impact.......

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