Corporate environmental disclosures and financial distress: evidence from an emerging market

Hang Thu Nguyen1,, Phu Tan Tran2, Robert C. Rickards3, Linh Mai Chu1
1 Foreign Trade University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
2 Ernst & Young Viet Nam Limited, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
3 German Police University, Münster, Germany

Main Article Content


This study examines the effect of corporate environmental disclosures on financial distress in Vietnam. From sustainability reports and annual reports of firms listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, we manually collected a dataset on environmental information disclosures about seven management standards, including the utilization of raw materials, energy usage, water consumption, conservation of land and soil, gas emissions, wastewater and solid waste, and compliance with environmental protection laws. We measure the level of environmental information disclosures based on the counts of these standards that a firm has disclosed and employed both Altman’s Z-score and Ohlson’s O-score as proxies for financial distress. The research sample includes 269 firms from 2015 to 2020. The findings indicate that firms with better corporate environmental disclosures tend to have lower financial distress levels. The results are robust with respect to different measures of environmental information disclosures and financial distress, and have implications for investors, creditors, and policymakers. We contribute to the literature by providing evidence from a frontier market with weak legal institutions, where various environmental issues and regulations about disclosing environmental information have just gone into effect.

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