Integrated reporting: an exploratory study of French companies
The increasing complexity of the business world has led to growing demands for companies to provide information about their financial performance, their corporate governance and their contribution to developing sustainability. In addition, there are increasing needs for investors to obtain more information about the value creation process since financial reporting systems account imperfectly for most of intangible assets generated by companies. In this context, this article aims to determine if integrated reporting does effectively achieve the objective of reducing the information asymmetry. To answer this research question, a qualitative content analysis was conducted of the IR disclosed by the French companies in the period of 2013–16. The study reveals that information asymmetry is not reduced since companies mention only some capitals as inputs to their value creation process while almost entirely excluding natural capital. Moreover, companies disclose only positive information mainly about their financial capital, without mentioning any destruction of capital, especially not the natural one. Finally, from our findings, signals disclosed by these companies can be classified in three categories: intent signals composed of information about social and relational capital; camouflage signals composed of information about the reduction of the pollution without mentioning the pollution itself and need signals composed of information about dividends encouraging investors to maintain their financial support.
KeywordsIntegrated reporting Information asymmetry Sustainability disclosure Signalling theory
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author Elisabeth Albertini declares that she has no conflict of interest.
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