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Carbon accounting: A systematic literature review and empirical essays

Carbon accounting: A systematic literature review and empirical essays
Carbon accounting: A systematic literature review and empirical essays
This thesis seeks to improve current understanding and existing knowledge of corporate carbon accounting (CA) practices, their determinants, and consequences on corporate outcomes. To achieve this, three distinctive but closely related/connected studies focusing on corporate CA literature were conducted. These are: (i) an extensive and up-to-date systematic literature review (SLR) of the development of CA research, covering the theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence on the antecedents of CA and its consequences on corporate outcomes; (ii) an investigation of the complex associations between carbon performance, executive compensation, corporate governance and national governance quality; (iii) an examination of the association between corporate carbon performance, corporate tax avoidance and national business culture. By achieving this, it contributes to the literature by providing a comprehensive and most up-to-date review of the CA research, and offering several suggestions and outlining avenues for future studies to fill the research gaps in the current CA literature. Furthermore, by carrying out two empirical studies on gaps outlined in the SLR, the current thesis contributes to the emerging literature by providing empirical evidence and new insights into climate change, corporate governance and taxation fields. The first study conducts a comprehensive and up-to-date SLR of the existing research on CA. The sample includes 177 mixed, qualitative, quantitative, and theoretical studies published in 39 top-ranked journals from 1992 to 2020 and carried out in more than 50 countries across different disciplines (e.g., accounting, business, economics, and management). The study finds that a considerable amount of past research is descriptive and/or informed by single rather than integrated/multi-theoretical perspectives. It also shows that existing studies have focused on the antecedents of CA more than the consequences that CA has on corporate outcomes. Furthermore, this study highlights a number of research design weaknesses, including the lack of mixed-methods, qualitative, developing and cross-national/cultural studies. Finally, the study also identifies opportunities for future CA research. Drawing on the findings of the SLR study, the second study examines the association between carbon performance and executive compensation (EC) based on the neo-institutional theory, as well as the moderating role of corporate governance and country governance quality on this association. Using a global sample of 1,122 firms located in 28 countries and across 11 industries from 2002 to 2019, the findings of this study suggest that EC is positively associated with process-oriented CP (carbon reduction initiatives; CRI), but negatively associated with actual CP (carbon intensity; INT). Furthermore, this study shows that firms with a large board, more independent directors, and duality in CEO-Chair positions are more likely to link executive compensation with symbolic carbon performance, as well as the actual carbon performance (reductions in emissions). In addition, the results indicate that the presence of women and the sustainability committee on the board seem to prefer/advise the decision of linking the compensation packages with substantive carbon performance, such as the level of actual GHG emissions, rather than symbolically linking them with process-oriented carbon performance (carbon-related initiatives and commitments). It also suggests that firms in countries with low national governance quality are likely to use incentive-based mechanisms, such as executive compensation) to achieve better carbon performance. Drawing on insights from legitimacy theoretical views of organised hypocrisy and organisational facades, the third study investigates how two different perspectives of corporate carbon performance are associated with corporate tax avoidance (TA), and explains the moderating role of national business culture on the association between these constructs. Using a global sample of 45,396 firm-year observations covering a period from 2002 to 2020 (19 years) for 7,189 firms distributed in 54 countries worldwide and across 10 industries, this study finds that corporate tax avoidance is positively associated with CRI as a symbolic behaviour, and it is positively associated with INT as irresponsible or unethical behaviour. These associations are weaker in firms operating in stakeholder-oriented business cultures. Keywords: Carbon accounting, climate change, systematic literature review, corporate carbon performance, executive compensation, corporate governance, national governance quality, neo-institutional theory, corporate tax avoidance, hypocrisy and organisational facades, social and environmental accounting, sustainability development.
University of Southampton
Alzyod, Mohammad Hamad Ahmad
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Alzyod, Mohammad Hamad Ahmad
c0e48fdd-ae61-460d-a554-009ae0ffaf71
Ntim, Collins
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Malagila, John
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Al-Sayed, Mahmoud
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Alzyod, Mohammad Hamad Ahmad (2023) Carbon accounting: A systematic literature review and empirical essays. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 256pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis seeks to improve current understanding and existing knowledge of corporate carbon accounting (CA) practices, their determinants, and consequences on corporate outcomes. To achieve this, three distinctive but closely related/connected studies focusing on corporate CA literature were conducted. These are: (i) an extensive and up-to-date systematic literature review (SLR) of the development of CA research, covering the theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence on the antecedents of CA and its consequences on corporate outcomes; (ii) an investigation of the complex associations between carbon performance, executive compensation, corporate governance and national governance quality; (iii) an examination of the association between corporate carbon performance, corporate tax avoidance and national business culture. By achieving this, it contributes to the literature by providing a comprehensive and most up-to-date review of the CA research, and offering several suggestions and outlining avenues for future studies to fill the research gaps in the current CA literature. Furthermore, by carrying out two empirical studies on gaps outlined in the SLR, the current thesis contributes to the emerging literature by providing empirical evidence and new insights into climate change, corporate governance and taxation fields. The first study conducts a comprehensive and up-to-date SLR of the existing research on CA. The sample includes 177 mixed, qualitative, quantitative, and theoretical studies published in 39 top-ranked journals from 1992 to 2020 and carried out in more than 50 countries across different disciplines (e.g., accounting, business, economics, and management). The study finds that a considerable amount of past research is descriptive and/or informed by single rather than integrated/multi-theoretical perspectives. It also shows that existing studies have focused on the antecedents of CA more than the consequences that CA has on corporate outcomes. Furthermore, this study highlights a number of research design weaknesses, including the lack of mixed-methods, qualitative, developing and cross-national/cultural studies. Finally, the study also identifies opportunities for future CA research. Drawing on the findings of the SLR study, the second study examines the association between carbon performance and executive compensation (EC) based on the neo-institutional theory, as well as the moderating role of corporate governance and country governance quality on this association. Using a global sample of 1,122 firms located in 28 countries and across 11 industries from 2002 to 2019, the findings of this study suggest that EC is positively associated with process-oriented CP (carbon reduction initiatives; CRI), but negatively associated with actual CP (carbon intensity; INT). Furthermore, this study shows that firms with a large board, more independent directors, and duality in CEO-Chair positions are more likely to link executive compensation with symbolic carbon performance, as well as the actual carbon performance (reductions in emissions). In addition, the results indicate that the presence of women and the sustainability committee on the board seem to prefer/advise the decision of linking the compensation packages with substantive carbon performance, such as the level of actual GHG emissions, rather than symbolically linking them with process-oriented carbon performance (carbon-related initiatives and commitments). It also suggests that firms in countries with low national governance quality are likely to use incentive-based mechanisms, such as executive compensation) to achieve better carbon performance. Drawing on insights from legitimacy theoretical views of organised hypocrisy and organisational facades, the third study investigates how two different perspectives of corporate carbon performance are associated with corporate tax avoidance (TA), and explains the moderating role of national business culture on the association between these constructs. Using a global sample of 45,396 firm-year observations covering a period from 2002 to 2020 (19 years) for 7,189 firms distributed in 54 countries worldwide and across 10 industries, this study finds that corporate tax avoidance is positively associated with CRI as a symbolic behaviour, and it is positively associated with INT as irresponsible or unethical behaviour. These associations are weaker in firms operating in stakeholder-oriented business cultures. Keywords: Carbon accounting, climate change, systematic literature review, corporate carbon performance, executive compensation, corporate governance, national governance quality, neo-institutional theory, corporate tax avoidance, hypocrisy and organisational facades, social and environmental accounting, sustainability development.

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More information

Submitted date: December 2022
Published date: 4 January 2023

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 472977
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/472977
PURE UUID: d1f4d502-dbdb-4929-a42b-81154e8fc23f
ORCID for Collins Ntim: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1042-4056

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Jan 2023 16:23
Last modified: 06 Sep 2023 01:27

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Contributors

Thesis advisor: Collins Ntim ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: John Malagila
Thesis advisor: Mahmoud Al-Sayed

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