Stakeholder engagement is evolving: Do investors play a main role?

Silvia Ruiz, Silvia Romero, Belen Fernandez-Feijoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Stakeholder engagement, an essential component of the sustainability reporting strategy, is changing, as is the position of the different stakeholders in this evolving scenario. In this paper, we explore the effect of the pressure that a specific group of stakeholders, investors, exerts on the quality of the sustainability information disclosed. We intend to analyze if there has been a change in the role that investors play in sustainability reporting. By focusing on investors, we are paying attention to one of the less studied groups within the sustainability stakeholders. To this aim, we carry out a content analysis of the sustainability information disclosed by U.S. (shareholder-oriented country) and Spanish (stakeholder-oriented country) listed companies during the years 2013 to 2016. Our findings confirm the key role that investors play in the companies' sustainability strategies, demanding more and better sustainability information. We also find a reduction in the quality of sustainability disclosures in Spanish companies in the last year of our sample, showing a relevant change in this country that has been leading the sustainability rankings until now. The results of this paper are useful to investors and companies, as they reflect the changes on the information they demand, and for regulators, in order to create the adequate legal framework that will improve the quality of reporting. Regulators and financial agents should acknowledge this new scenario to adapt norms and actions accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • investor pressure
  • Spain and the United States
  • stakeholder engagement
  • stakeholder pressure
  • sustainability information
  • sustainability reporting

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