Journal of Business Ethics 150 (4):1089-1104 (2018)

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Firms worldwide are increasingly required to disclose their carbon emissions due to the environmental damage associated with climate change. Because there has been no previous literature focusing on the determinants of corporate carbon disclosure integrating environmental legitimacy and green innovation, the present study attempted to develop an original framework to fill the research gap. This study explored the influence of environmental legitimacy on corporate carbon disclosure, and investigated the role of green innovation as a mediator. With the samples of Carbon Disclosure Project in China from 2008 to 2012, the results demonstrate that environmental legitimacy significantly negatively influences the likelihood of corporate carbon disclosure, and that green process innovation mediates the relationship, while green product innovation has no significant mediating effect. It means that environmental legitimacy not only directly affects the likelihood of corporate carbon disclosure, but also indirectly affects it via green process innovation. Hence, companies must increase both informal and formal mechanisms, i.e., external environmental legitimacy and internal green process innovation, to engage in carbon information disclosure and ensure sustainability.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-016-3187-6
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