Title

Greenhouse Gas Disclosure and Emissions Benchmarking

Publication Date

10-2-2019

Abstract

In 2010, the United States mandated the reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for thousands of manufacturing facilities. Studying this rule, and focusing on facilities for which emissions information was largely not available elsewhere, I find a 7.9% emissions reduction following disclosure. I highlight the role of ‘benchmarking’. Specifically, facilities are able to assess their own, relative GHG performance once they can observe their peers' disclosures. This benchmarking facilitates emissions reductions. In contrast, I highlight uncertainty around whether measurement and reporting to the regulator alone, prior to disclosure, leads to emissions reductions. Lastly, I show that concern about future legislation partly motivates the observed responses. The main takeaway is that mandatory, granular disclosure can curb GHG emissions, and that benchmarking plays an important role in this process.

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Corporate Social Responsibility; Disclosure Regulation; Climate Change; Benchmarking; Peer Effects; Real Effects

DOI

10.2139/ssrn.3448904

Source

SMU Cox School of Business Research Paper Series

Language

English

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