The forces that shape mandatory ESG reporting

Year: 2024
Type: Chapter
Journal: Research Handbook on Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance

In this chapter, we outline the economic forces and social institutions that shape mandatory environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting. We start by introducing the term, development and significance of the ESG concept and related approaches that describe corporate actions beyond shareholder value maximization as well as corporate social and environmental exposures and impacts. ESG reporting is then characterized as an emerging complement of the broader phenomenon of corporate reporting. We continue by discussing the economic forces shaping ESG reporting as reactions to a growing collective awareness that a neoliberalist economic order, with companies focused solely on profit maximization, is causing serious ecological and social problems since externalities are not sufficiently internalized. Transparency about firms’ ESG-related matters is then presented as a potential remedy that, however, faces its own challenges and limitations. We then describe the evolving regulatory landscape of mandatory ESG reporting along with its key players and initiatives.

Participating Institutions

TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Cologne and Leibniz University Hannover who share the same research agenda.

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