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Sustainability Disclosure in Social Media – Substitutionary or Complementary to Traditional Reporting?



Objective: This study examines sustainability disclosure by 50 British companies from FTSE 100 and compares reporting via traditional sources and on Twitter by indicating whether the content in two various disclosure channels is of substitutionary or complementary nature.

Methodology: A content analysis on more than 20,000 tweets was performed to examine sustainability disclosure practices which were compared with Bloomberg ESG scores for each studied company.

Findings: On the general level of sustainability division into three pillars (Environment, Social and Governance), it can be observed that social media reporting provides complementary information. Whereas, the disclosure of environmental issues via traditional sources was relatively poor, the reporting of environmental information in social media performed best. However, with the division on ESG sub-pillars, the picture is not that clear. Most of the poorly performed ESG sub-pillars in traditional reporting, were also poorly reported in social media.

Value Added: This article is a response to the call for studies on non-financial disclosure via social media, which is strongly highlighted in the recent literature concerning future research. Additionally, a comparative analysis with the reporting by traditional, well-studied channels was performed.

Recommendations: This study offers an understanding of the British companies’ corporate practices that refer to sustainability disclosure by traditional channels and via social media. Hence, it has implications for organizations in the creation and use of communication channels when developing a dialogue with stakeholders on topics regarding sustainability.

Frequenza di pubblicazione:
4 volte all'anno
Argomenti della rivista:
Business and Economics, Business Management, Management, Organization, Corporate Governance, other