Integrated Thinking and Sustainability Reporting Assurance: International Evidence
Business Strategy and the Environment, Forthcoming
Posted: 1 Feb 2021 Last revised: 20 Apr 2021
Date Written: November 3, 2020
Recently, there has been increasing demand by stakeholders for firms to demonstrate how they create value within the context of their operating environment. Consequently, a new reporting approach, Integrated Reporting (IR), was conceptualised with its development linked to the firm’s Integrated Thinking (IT). Yet very little is known about the effects of IT on firms’ reporting decisions. Hence, we investigate whether IT influences firms’ decision to publish an assured sustainability report. Using an international dataset, we find that IT is positively associated with sustainability reporting assurance. We also find that this association is moderated by the type of legal system such that for firms in code law countries, the IT effects are reduced. Nevertheless, the effects of IT remain strong indicating that IT is important for reporting decisions regardless of the firm’s contextual setting. These findings have implications for policy makers and organisations interested in promoting high quality sustainability reporting.
Keywords: Integrated thinking; Sustainability reporting assurance, Integrated reporting, Legal systems, Stakeholder engagement
JEL Classification: M4, Q56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation