In recent years, there has been an increasing need for corporate organizations to voluntarily disclose their activities as part of their corporate social responsibility to its stakeholders. Extant literature according to Rouf (2016) have attempted to explain succinctly this aspect of corporate disclosure which apparently lie outside the whims and caprices of conventional framework of accounting disclosures. Although, it is considered worthwhile due to its capacity in providing the much needed information that is quintessential in maintaining an efficient capital market system. Environmental disclosure provides a strategic framework upon which stakeholders make informed decisions as they allocate their capital among competing alternatives (Deril and Hiller, 2015).
Environmental disclosure emerged in the mid 90s with the first disclosures in accordance with the Global Disclosure Initiative (GRI) of environmental disclosure framework in 1999 (Muhammadu, 2014). The development of this practice in the 90s was necessitated following the need for corporate organizations to appreciate the imperativeness of responding to its environment and socially responsible. Thereafter, environmental disclosure practices had gained wider acceptance in the western world as most firms began to report their activities to galvanize good corporate image from their shareholders (Rouf, 2016). As a result, corporate environmental disclosure is increasingly an important issue to corporate investors, public policy makers and the general public. These disclosures are important, because they provide environmental performance information and influence capital market. Therefore, corporate investors and other stakeholders need to use environmental information in their decision-making. There is extensive evidence that social and environmental information is useful for decision-making by investors and other stakeholders (Richardson and Welker, 2001). In response to investors’ and other stakeholders’ concerns about corporate environmental policies, many firms are voluntarily increasing their level of social and environmental disclosure through different sources and media.
The global disclosure initiative disclosure standard explains that environmental disclosure is the practice of being accountable to both internal and external stakeholders of organizations by measuring and disclosing firms’ performance in relation to the goal of the organization ( Rotimi, 2015). Corporate environmental disclosure according to Deegan and Rankin (2006) is the way by which corporate organizations disseminates the environmental effects of its activities to their stakeholders and to society at large This practice, however, serves as a means of providing pertinent information on firm’s efforts which have the potentiality of influencing the perception of the stakeholders on the performance of the supposed organizations.
Notwithstanding, environmental disclosures are still voluntary in Nigeria and this implies that firms still have the volition to either disclose or not to disclose. Research findings according to Winnie and Hulks (2015) have identified some factors that could predispose most corporate organizations to disclose pertinent information to its environment. Some of the factors are but not limited to firm size, liquidity ratio, profitability, firm leverage, operating expenses, gross earning and other corporate characteristics. However, the Financial Disclosure Council of Nigeria (FRCN) is yet to issue a standard of disclosure (Clement and Earnest, 2016). Corporate organizations like financial institutions are increasingly publishing their activities in a bid to entrench their reputation with their stakeholders in terms of their performance.
Issues’ relating to environmental disclosures are basically at the volition of firms in Nigeria either to report or not as it is best defined by them. It does appears that most of the corporate organizations who wishes to disclose their annual reports are succinctly deficient with disclosures on environmental factors, most of which, brew information asymmetric in the capital markets. As a result, the stakeholders hardly make profound decisions due to problems of information asymmetric. Research finding according to Moshudu (2015) observes that even the introduction of the adoption of International Financial Disclosure Standards (IFRS) in Nigeria which apparently is targeted at increasing the level of information disclosure might have constrained traditionally financial firms to disclose more information.
The main objective of this study is to examine the effects of corporate financial characteristics on environmental disclosure of selected Banks in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
1. To determine the effect of firm size on level of environmental disclosure of banks in Nigeria
2. To ascertain the effect of gross earnings on level of environmental disclosure of banks in Nigeria
3. To evaluate the effect of operating expenses on level of environmental disclosure of banks in Nigeria.