Greenhouse Gas Disclosure and Emissions Benchmarking
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.
Corporate Social Responsibility; Disclosure Regulation; Climate Change; Benchmarking; Peer Effects; Real Effects
SMU Cox School of Business Research Paper Series