In this section, we analyze the relationship between
disclosure policy and disclosure performance.
We catalogue disclosure polices in each of the
40 countries represented in the stock exchange
ranking from Part I, and determine which policy
characteristics are correlated with sustainability
disclosure excellence (as defined in the stock
exchange ranking).
The unit of analysis for this section of the report is a
policy instrument, with policies grouped by country.
This set-up recognizes that sustainability disclosure
policies can effectively be implemented by four sets
of actors within a given country: i) stock exchanges;
ii) securities regulators; iii) specific government
departments; and iv) industry/professional associations.
All of these organizations can influence corporate
sustainability disclosure behaviour by issuing
guidance or regulation for listed companies within
their respective jurisdictional power.
We concentrate our analysis on policies that are
designed to improve the disclosure of the seven first
generation sustainability indicators. As mentioned
earlier, policies explicitly designed to enhance
corporate reporting of other sustainability metrics
are excluded.
The complete policy inventory, which consists of
167 specific policy instruments, can be found in
Appendix C
43 For instance, the effect of policies designed to improve the disclosure of
corporate governance factors, such as France’s Corporate Governance Code
of Listed Corporations (2010), is not captured in our analysis.
Policy trends
As shown in
Figure 13
, legislation imposing
sustainability disclosure obligations began to
emerge in the 1970s and early 1980s, with the
United States’
Clean Air Act (1970)
and the
Bursa Malaysia’s
Environmental Quality Act (1974)
among the earliest examples.
The number of disclosure policies increased
significantly in the early and mid-2000s, reaching
an apex of 30 policies in 2012.
In total, 100 of the 167 policies (60%) were enacted
in developed countries, with the remainder (67
of 167, or 40%) implemented in emerging market
In recent years, the distribution between
quantitative disclosure policies has been generally
evenly split between authorities in developed and
emerging markets.
44 Country classifications taken from
Part II:
Policy Analysis
1...,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34 36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,...71