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Views of corporate managers on assurance of sustainability reporting: evidence from Japan

Mohammad Badrul Haider () and Kimitaka Nishitani
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Mohammad Badrul Haider: Kwansei Gakuin University

International Journal of Disclosure and Governance, 2020, vol. 17, issue 1, No 1, 19 pages

Abstract: Abstract The demand for assurance in sustainability reporting has increased significantly in recent years. The objective of this study is to examine the views of corporate managers on the current state of, and future prospects for, this emerging assurance practice in Japan. The research is based on a small program of six semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire survey of the top 500 companies listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Nikkei 500 companies). The findings show that respondents are still reluctant to adopt assurance on sustainability reporting. In contrast, they prefer third-party comment, a unique practice in Japan to enhance the credibility of the reported information. The study also identifies the determinants, stakeholders’ influence for the adoption of assurance and third-party comment on sustainability reporting. It shows that main impediments to adopting assurance service include high assurance fees, less demand for sustainability assurance from stakeholders, and a lengthy assurance process. The findings are explained through the lens of legitimacy theory. While the extant literature concentrated on European practice, this is the first known study that informs the adoption of assurance and third-party comment on sustainability reporting in Japan, the leading country in the world to publish such non-financial reports.

Keywords: Sustainability reporting; Assurance; Third-party comment; Auditing; Credibility; Japan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1057/s41310-019-00070-0

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