Workshop Series: Chris Van Staden
Proactive strategies in the area of corporate social responsibility are becoming a "business imperative" (Kanter 2011). However, the quality of companies' disclosures about corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities remains unknown. They may be informative or they may be opportunistic and provide little useful information. We examine this issue by investigating the association between abnormal (i.e., unexpected) CSR disclosures and future firm performance using an international sample of firms drawn from 22 countries. If these disclosures are informative and if CSR activities are value-adding as Kanter (2011) suggests, there should be a positive relation between corporate social responsibility disclosures and future firm performance. Our results indicate that the two are unrelated which suggests that, on average, these disclosures are uninformative. We conjecture that since CSR activities are unobservable and since the payoffs from such activities may not be realized immediately, firms with poor CSR records may be able to mimic the high quality disclosures of good CSR performers, reducing the value of CSR disclosures.
Dr Chris van Staden is a Professor of Accounting at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He teaches courses in Financial Accounting, Social and Environmental Accounting and Research Methods to undergraduate and post graduate students. His research focuses on the disclosure of financial information, especially environmental and social disclosures. In this regard he investigated shareholder preferences for environmental disclosure in five countries. A more recent interest is the relationship between corporate governance and environmental performance. He has published in international refereed accounting and management journals including Accounting, Organizations and Society, the Journal of Management, the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, ABACUS, Accounting and Finance, the British Accounting Review, Accounting Forum and the Australian Accounting Review, amongst others.
Chris regularly presents his research at international conferences, including the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) annual conferences, the Asia–Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conferences, the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research conferences and the American Accounting Association conference.
Chris serves on the editorial board of four journals and review for a whole range of international journals. He serves on the technical committee for the AFAANZ conference.