Reporting on carbon emissions
: corporate stories of implementation, motivation and challenge in the age of climate change

  • Wan Wan Ahmad

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The main purpose of this research is to investigate the climate change and carbon reporting practises of UK FTSE 350 companies. The objectives cover three main areas of investigation including the extent of carbon reporting in the first mandatory year as compared to a voluntary year; the common stories told in companies’ climate change and carbon disclosure; and the dynamic of carbon reporting implementation, including the motivations for disclosure, the problems and issues faced and the disclosure implementation approach. Using storytelling as a theoretical lens, this research explore the content of disclosure, presentation and the motivation for disclosure using the storytelling concept. The data for this study was gathered through two sources: companies’ disclosure in annual reports, sustainability reports, websites and other online reporting; as well as interviews. The findings reveal that the introduction of Mandatory Carbon Reporting Requirements (MCRR) does improve the content and presentation of the companies’ carbon disclosure in annual reports, thus fulfilling the objective of the legislation in encouraging reporting and promoting transparency. The study has also found that the common story themes reported in companies’ disclosures relate to stories of climate change, emissions performance and reduction, and companies’ achievements in climate change and related areas. The findings of the study also demonstrate that maintaining a good reputation, complying with regulation, fulfilling stakeholders’ expectation, improve efficiency and cost saving, and projecting morality of management are the main motivations for climate change and carbon disclosure. It was also found that data collection and accuracy are perceived to be the most challenging issues faced by companies in disclosing their emission data, especially if they operate internationally. Last but not least, the findings show that companies will consult or choose to outsource their carbon disclosure or data collection to third parties when they do not have sufficient in-house resources and expertise.
Date of Award16 Mar 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorNunung Nurul Hidayah (Supervisor), Alan D Lowe (Supervisor) & Stuart M Cooper (Supervisor)


  • carbon
  • emission
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG)
  • carbon reporting
  • storytelling

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