What is it about?

With the increasing attention of the capital market to environmental, social and governance information, sustainability reporting has become an important carrier for stakeholders to gain insight into sustainability of companies. But the emerged “greenwashing” problem has also brought haze to the value creation of capital market. To study the consequences of the pseudo-social responsibility behavior of “greenwashing”, this paper takes China’s listed companies as the research sample to empirically examine the relationship between sustainability reporting “greenwashing” and “shared value” creation. It is found that the “greenwashing” behavior of corporate sustainability reporting significantly reduces the “shared value” creation, while the degree of sustainability information asymmetry and the quality of information disclosure play a partial mediation role between them. Further analysis shows that the more effective internal control of a company and the greater pressure of external media supervision, the more conducive to weaken the negative impact of “greenwashing” on “shared value” creation.

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Why is it important?

Our research enriches the literature on the economic consequences of “greenwashing” in sustainability disclosure and the influencing factors of “shared value” creation, extends the research on information disclosure and “shared value” from financial information to non-financial information. The results call for the state to promote legislative work, formulate unified standards and compress the “greenwashing” gray space; Governments could implement mandatory disclosure, implement independent authentication and strengthen “greenwashing” social supervision; Companies should strengthen capacity building and improve the “greenwashing” governance mechanism with the help of digital empowerment.

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This page is a summary of: Unveiling the “Veil” of information disclosure: Sustainability reporting “greenwashing” and “shared value”, PLoS ONE, January 2023, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0279904.
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