Signalling and Legitimacy Theories for Explaining Climate Information Disclosure by Russian Companies
This paper studies the factors influencing the level of climate-related disclosure by Russian companies. It has several distinctive features in comparison to previous works: 1) climate change disclosure by Russian companies is studied for the first time; 2) textual analysis is used to evaluate the level of disclosure, and a new Russian glossary on climate change is compiled; 3) a unique set of indicators is used to assess the impact of factors on climate change disclosure. Legitimacy and signalling theories are used to formulate the hypotheses.
The sample consists of 47 Russian companies with the largest market capitalization. Their 235 annual and sustainability reports for 2015-2019 are analysed. Using regression analysis, we show that a company’s absolute amount of greenhouse gas emissions, size, industry affiliation, and CDP
rating positively affect its level of disclosure about climate change. In contrast, state ownership and a high debt burden have a negative impact. At the same time, the newness of assets, capital expenditures, interest coverage and company growth opportunities have no effect on climate change disclosure. Empirical results have confirmed the applicability of legitimacy theory to the Russian market. The present study will provide investors and regulators with tools for predicting a company’s impact on climate based on its level of climate change disclosure.