NSBM Journal 2020 The Influence of Sustainability Reporting on Firms' Financial Performance with the Moderating Role of Board Independence: Empirical Evidence form Sri Lankan Listed Firms

Sustainability Reporting has gained prominence from the industrial developments in 1980s. One of the outcomes of industrial developments has been emergence of the link between economy, ethics and politics as well as an interaction between economic issues and moral and social issues. Consequently, managers of the business entities no longer purely focus on higher productivity, but also pay their attention on numerous environmental, ethical, social and cultural issues. Therefore, board governance practices (particularly independence of the board) have been highlighted for its paramount importance. This study aimed to investigate the link between sustainability reporting on the firms’ performance with the moderating role of board independence. Accordingly, the first objective of the study was to examine the direct impact of the sustainability reporting on firms’ financial performance and secondly, to examine the moderating impact of board independence towards this association between sustainability reporting on firms’ financial performance. All the non-financial companies in the Colombo Stock Exchange were selected amounting to 174 for a four years period (2014 to 2017) and thereby six hundred ninety-six (696) firm-year observations have been used in the study. Using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) based index for measuring sustainability disclosures, it was found via the pooled OLS regression and panel regression analyses that such sustainability disclosures have a significant (p<0.01) positive association on firm financial performance. Furthermore, the results of panel regression analysis also indicated that greater availability of independent directors positively (p<0.05) moderated the relationship between sustainability disclosures and financial performance of firms, and this finding is consistent with the agency theory, which posits that a more independent board of directors can better monitor the firms due to their independency.

Key Words: Sustainability Reporting, Global Reporting Initiative, Board Independence, Corporate Performance

Journal Title :- NSBM Journal of Management