Researcher ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-1179-9685

Graduation Year

2021

Date of Submission

11-2020

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics-Accounting

Reader 1

Matthew Magilke

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2020 Leana E Jacobs

Abstract

Oil and gas companies are among the largest contributors to climate change given their frequent engagement in activities such as oil production and water usage. Under the SEC’s proposed amendment to modernize mandatory disclosures, firms will have greater discretion in selecting which aspects of their environmental operations to report. This paper seeks to infer how the nature of voluntary reporting may be impacted by this amendment by showing the degree to which firms and the public value disclosures. I evaluate the relationship between environmental disclosure scores and economic performance, measured as return on assets and gross profit margin. The sample includes 30 publicly traded Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas companies, all of which file under the SEC and will be directly susceptible to the change. The results find a negative and significant correlation between score and ROA. A negative and significant correlation is also found between scores and gross margin. Despite the result of the study, I maintain that it is in the best interest of firms to provide discretionary disclosures wherever is needed. The findings should not be viewed as an incentive to report less under the notion that disclosure may negatively impact profitability. By engaging in greener initiatives and reducing reportable risks, firms may gain more confidence in reporting voluntary information. Not only will this result in a higher disclosure score, but it may adjust the nature of these scores to be more informative of sustainable efforts rather than risks.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.

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