The Influence of Board Characteristics on Corporate Sustainability Disclosures in Sub-Saharan Africa

Emmanuel Christopher, Judika King'ori, Henry Chalu


Despite acknowledging that corporate sustainability disclosures (CSD) are important in driving the sustainability agenda at a firm’s level, there is limited research on the relationship between firm’s highest governing organ and CSD, particularly in the context of developing countries. As such, this study contributes to empirical evidence by investigating the influence of board characteristics on CSD. The study used a panel dataset of 165 firms in 12 Sub-Saharan African countries for the 2015 – 2019 period, hence a total of 825 firm year observations. The study results show that board size has an inverted u-shaped relationship with CSD whereas board diversity in terms of gender and board committee have  a significant positive influence on CSD. It was also found that the CEO power and board compensation have a significant negative influence on CSD while board diversity, independence and meetings do not have a significant influence on CSD. The study findings imply that, policy makers seeking to enhance the extent of CSD should consider it jointly with entity governance tools instead of treating it as an independent corporate activity. Particularly, it is recommended that, governments through their regulatory agencies such as security and capital markets authorities (and similarly shareholders) need to consider an appropriate mix of board characteristics towards the enhancement of CSD.

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