Workshop Series: Charl de Villiers
Abstract: Our study investigates the relationship between strong firm environmental performance and board characteristics that capture the boards' monitoring and resource provision abilities, during an era when natural environment and the related strategic opportunities have increased in importance. We relate our proxy for strong environmental performance to board characteristics that represent the boards' monitoring role (i.e., independence, CEO-chair duality, relative power of the CEO, and director shareholding) and resource provision role (i.e., board size, directors on multiple boards, CEOs of other firms on the board, lawyers on the board, and director tenure). We provide evidence consistent with both theories of board roles. Specifically, consistent with our agency theory-driven predictions, we find evidence of higher environmental performance in firms with higher board independence, and lower relative power of CEOs over the board of directors. Consistent with resource dependence theory, we show that environmental performance is higher in firms that have larger boards, a larger representation of active CEOs on its board, and more legal experts on its board. Our findings are generally robust to a number of sensitivity analyses.
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Charl teaches Management Accounting (3rd year & honours) and Sustainability Accounting (honours) at the University of Auckland Business School. His research explores the impact of accounting choice, corporate governance and the accounting profession, including social and environmental accounting, corporate governance and the use of accounting control systems. He has 27 refereed publications in, among other journals, Accounting, Organizations and Society and the British Accounting Review. He is an associate editor of Meditari Accountancy Research (C rated by the ABDC) and serves on the editorial board of Issues in Accounting Education (A rated by the ABDC) and Journal of the Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Accountability (C rated by the ABDC). He is an ad hoc reviewer for European Accounting Review, British Accounting Review, Australian Accounting Review, Pacific Accounting Review, and other journals. Apart from academic matters, he is also a CA, a CPA and holds an MBA.