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Quantity over Quality?: A study of a separate sustainability report's effect on financial performance for companies on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The corporate scandals in the beginning of the 21st century caused distrust in the market and a pressure for more disclosure to increase transparency. To broaden the traditional reporting, companies started to voluntarily disclose information regarding soft measures like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Due to the fast development and popularity of CSR, more companies started to disclose a separate sustainability report to communicate information about these activities. The aim of the report is to provide stakeholders with accurate and transparent information regarding the companies CSR activities, but also to legitimize the business.

The main purpose of this research is to investigate if the quantity of information disclosed in the sustainability report affects the financial performance of companies listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. We also aim to investigate whether the existence of a report affects the financial performance. With companies spending an increasing amount of resources on disclosing voluntary information it is important to extend the research regarding CSR and the benefits to financial performance.

This research ontological and epistemological positions are objectivism and positivism with a deductive approach. A quantitative method was used to gather sufficient data from existing databases and reports. For the first research question our population is all companies listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm on April 12th 2013, and for the second research question our population is the companies with a separate sustainability report in English from the accounting year of 2011. The financial performance data was gathered from the period 2012-04-01-2013-03.31. To answer our research questions and sub- questions, six hypotheses were formulated based on relevant theories and previous studies. Several multiple linear regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between the existence of the reports, and the quantity of information in them, to the company’s financial performance. Other regressions were performed to establish if the quantity disclosed was affected by industry classification or market capitalization size.

Our results show that the neither the existence of a separate sustainability report nor the quantity of information disclosed in it has an effect on stock return. However, both having a separate sustainability and the quantity of information disclosed have a positive effect on stock volatility. Conclusively, companies do not benefit financially from disclosing their CSR activities through a separate sustainability report. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 111 p.
Keyword [en]
CSR, Sustainability report, quantity of information, voluntary disclosure, financial performance, stock return, volatility
Keyword [sv]
Hållbarhet, hållbarhetsrapportering
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-73467OAI: diva2:631942
Educational program
International Business Program
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-06-27 Created: 2013-06-24 Last updated: 2013-06-27Bibliographically approved

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