Document Type


Source of Publication

European Accounting Review

Publication Date



Although an increasing number of companies have publicly declared environmental targets (ETs), scant research has been conducted in this area. This study, therefore, investigates the extent of corporate environmental targets disclosure (ETD) and empirically examines whether environmental governance and performance influence the ETD of companies in the U.K. during the 2005–2013 period. We find that firms show a large degree of variability and inconsistency in their reporting of ETs. The results indicate that U.K. firms, particularly those with high environmental sensitivity, tend to disclose symbolic soft or semi-hard ETs to manage stakeholder perceptions and legitimize their existence. Moreover, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, sustainability committees, and sustainability assurance show positive relationships with ETD. We also find that U.K. firms that perform well environmentally are likely to set and disclose hard ETs. These results support stakeholder, legitimacy, and impression management theories. We suggest that there is a need for regulations that will not only enhance the usefulness of ETD but also encourage companies to take serious proactive action to reduce negative environmental impacts, possibly creating ‘win-win’ solutions. Our findings have important implications for policy-makers and various stakeholder groups.




Informa UK Limited


Computer Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Environmental governance, Environmental performance, Environmental targets, Impression management, Stakeholders

Scopus ID


Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Green: A manuscript of this publication is openly available in a repository