Corporate accountability for biodiversity and species extinction: A systematic literature review and empirical evidence

Lee Roberts, Ahmed A. Elamer (Supervisor), Robin Jarvis (Supervisor)

Research output: Other contribution


This thesis investigates corporate accountability for the biodiversity and species extinction (B/E) crisis. Specifically, it consists of a systematic literature review, three empirical essays, and an introduction and conclusion chapters.

Essay one conducts a systematic literature review. Using a sample of 51 publications, it identifies current limitations of finds that there is a distinct lack of empirical evidence in B/E literature. Furthermore, this essay presents future research directions.

Essay two investigates the relationship between species specific disclosure and determinant factors which motivate firms to provide disclosure. Using a sample of 200 Fortune Global firms from 2012 to 2020, results show that firms that self-report environmental fines, gain assurance from one of the big four accounting firms, and high biodiversity impact firms, motivates species-specific disclosure.

Essay three offers unique insights on country level governance mechanisms. Using a sample of 200 Fortune Global firms from 2012 to 2018, empirical analysis found that firms headquartered in countries with higher corruption and weaker legal institutions motivate B/E disclosure. These findings are considerably impactful as they contest the assumption that firms in stronger institutions conform to pressures by providing disclosure. Furthermore, evidence suggests that national culture using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions is an influencing factor in B/E disclosure.

Essay four provides first-time empirical insights that the personal attributes of a firm’s CEO are important mechanisms of B/E disclosure. Using a sample of 200 Fortune Global companies from 2012 to 2020, this research chiefly highlights that powerful CEOs motivate B/E disclosure and it provides evidence that a career horizon problem exists in B/E reporting.

Overall, the research findings are in line with the predictions of the multi-theoretical framework that combines insights from stakeholder, deep ecology, legitimacy, institutional, and upper echelons theories. In summary, this thesis provides methodological, theoretical and empirical contributions to literature which is essential for understanding how and what motivates firms to account for B/E. Notably, this study demonstrates firms are not responsibly responding to the B/E crisis and transformational change is required from firms to prevent further B/E decline and meet the SDGs by 2030. This thesis presents a series of implications for policymakers regulators, practitioners, investors, and academics which is highlighted and articulated in the study.
Original languageEnglish
TypePhD Thesis
PublisherBrunel University London
Number of pages265
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Sustainable development
  • Corporate sustainability
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Biodiversity and extinction accounting
  • Biodiversity reporting


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