Effects on social and environmental disclosure: a comparative study of Chinese foreign direct investment and domestic acquisitions in the Australian mining industry
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:25 authored by Veronica Norman
This thesis focuses on the impact of Chinese foreign direct investment on the voluntary social and environmental reporting (SER) of Australian mining companies. The study is motivated by the speed, extent and nature of Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Australia and the resulting negative media reports and governmental attitudes. This research uses content analysis of annual reports and corporate websites to observe changes in SER after Chinese acquisition, in comparison to disclosure changes in a similar group of Australian domestic acquisitions. A thematic checklist of SER indicators is developed to identify and code disclosures related to environmental management, health and safety, employment diversity and community involvement. A sentence count identifies differences in the volume of disclosures, and the nature of the disclosures is evaluated qualitatively using an interpretive framework based on Suchman's (1995) model of legitimacy. It is found that Chinese targets have a greater propensity to disclose information that is aligned with societal values (moral legitimacy), while domestic targets disclose information that appeals to specific stakeholder constituents (pragmatic legitimacy). The difference in legitimation strategies are consistent with the greater legitimacy threat faced by Chinese targets. This has implications for legitimacy theory, Chinese FDI literature, and Australian foreign investment policy.