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ENHANCING ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH CODES OF ETHICS: THE CASE OF ITALIAN LISTED COMPANIES

Silvia Testarmata, Alessia Montecchia, Emiliano Di Carlo

DOI: 10.22495/cocv11i1art4

Abstract

Codes of ethics aims to disclose corporate social responsibility and to promote ethical culture throughout the firms. Several studies have investigated the content of such codes to identify what values are declared within. However, so far literature on codes of ethics seems not to have considered adequately the question of environmental protection. Therefore this paper focuses on the disclosure of environmental sustainability in codes of ethics, investigating the case of Italian listed companies. Adopting a content analysis methodology, the paper explores the environmental section of these codes in order to assess the salience of environmental sustainability in the strategic orientation of the firms, identifying the environmental principles, objectives, instruments and certification stated within the codes of ethics and highlighting whether and to what extent the environmental disclosure varies among industries. The research findings suggest that the Italian listed companies are more oriented to emphasize the environmental principles rather than to define precise objectives and instruments useful to achieve the environmental sustainability in practice. Nevertheless the more polluted industries seem to provide a wider environmental disclosure.

Keywords: Codes of Ethics, Environmental Sustainability, Italian Listed Companies

How to cite this paper: Testarmata, S., Montecchia, A., & Di Carlo, E. (2013). Enhancing environmental sustainability through codes of ethics: the case of Italian listed companies. Corporate Ownership & Control, 11(1), 40-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.22495/cocv11i1art4

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