Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This empirical thesis provides an in-depth description of the evolution and the current state of environmental disclosure in Canada. A multi-dimensional classification framework was specifically designed for this thesis to perform content analysis of environmental disclosure. The framework was developed with 25 sub-categories to capture: subject matter being discussed; type of information used; location of information in the annual report; and tense of information. This classification framework will be useful in future to analyze other aspects of environmental disclosure.;A random sample of 183 annual reports from 40 companies listed on the TSE; one environmental report; 79 pieces of additional external disclosure; and 17 interviews with disclosure preparers in eight companies were utilized to address five basic questions: (1) What is the quantity and nature of the environmental disclosure currently being provided in annual reports and other media? (2) Has there been a change in the quantity and nature of environmental disclosure over time? (3) What are the characteristics of firms providing environmental disclosure? (4) What is the extent of accounting information found in the environmental disclosure and what is the role of accountants in producing the environmental disclosure? (5) What is the management process behind the production of environmental disclosure?;The following conclusions were reached: (1) Although environmental performance reporting is an increasing trend, the phenomenon has been present for at least two decades. (2) Companies providing environmental disclosure tend to be large firms and the pulp and paper industry produces the most environmental disclosure. Profitability has no effect on environmental disclosure practices. (3) Only twenty-five percent of the environmental disclosure classified was found to be accounting information. Of eight companies interviewed, only one had an accountant responsible for the preparation of environmental disclosure.;The interview results, which reveal current management practice, were cast in the Gibbins, Richardson and Waterhouse (1990) model of disclosure management. Although the model was supported, some refinements were suggested.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.