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BUSN20019 Professional Project

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Question:

Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, is a major office of many companies and multinational corporations, which have engaged in sustainability reporting (Sustainable Development Division n.d.). Some of the corporations even adopted global guidelines to prepare sustainability reportsand seek external auditors to assure their sustainability reports (CPA Australia, 2013). It is critical to test if there is any relationship between sustainability disclosures and market performance.

Research aim and research questions The aim of this research is to identify the impact of sustainability disclosures on market performance, and more specifically to:

The following research questions are developed to achieve the aim.

To what extent does the sustainability reports available among 50 constituent stocks in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI)?

Any relationship between sustainability reporting and industry of the organisations?

Do correlations exist between sustainability reporting and market performance?

This section will compare the findings and literature review. The purpose of this study was to examine if the market performance, as measured by growth in earnings per share and growth in year-end share price, is associated withsustainability disclosure provided in a sample of 50 companies being the constituent stocks in Hang Seng Index between 2013 and 2014.

Sustainability reports are significantly related to the industry the company belongs to as implied in social-political theories The findings show that sustainability disclosures increased within three years before 2013. More than half of companies published standalone sustainability reports. Both correlation and regression analyses indicate sustainability disclosures has significant relationship with industry. However, regression model contradicts with the claims made in the previous literature review.

Social-political theories, which comprise political economy theory, stakeholder theory and legitimacy theory, suggest that the willingness of disclosingenvironmental information is based on the level of social and political pressure faced by the companies. This implied that the environmentally sensitive companies have a higher chance to provide sustainability information, which is confirmed by the findings. In contrast, regression model indicates that non environmentally sensitive companies have a higher chance to provide sustainability information.

Sustainability reports are significantly related to the shareholder returns (growth in earnings per share) as implied in voluntary disclosure theories H3: Sustainability reports are significantly related to the market perception (growth in year-end share price) as implied in voluntary disclosure theories.

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