An empirical analysis of SDG disclosure (SDGD) and board gender diversity: insights from banking sector in an emerging economy

Mohammed Mazumder*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

There has been a recent surge in interest in academic research and public discourse surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study examines the level of SDG disclosure (SDGD) in Bangladeshi banking companies and explores its relationship with board gender diversity. An automated keyword search is applied to measure SDGD in the annual reports of publicly traded commercial banks. Based on agency, resource dependence, and stakeholder theories, this study hypothesises that a higher presence of female directors on the board is associated with greater commitment and contribution to SDGs, as evident in SDGD. The findings reveal a consistent increase in SDGD from 2015 to 2020 and confirm a significant positive relationship between board gender diversity and SDGD. The results remain consistent following robustness tests, including one-step and two-step system (dynamic) GMM estimations. Also, the study provides evidence that a critical mass of at least three female directors is necessary to establish a significant positive relationship between board gender diversity and SDGD. The implications of this study are twofold: firstly, it provides preliminary insights into the state of SDGD in the banking industry, which can inform regulators in assessing corporate engagement to SDGs and issuing disclosure guidance for the interest of the stakeholders. Secondly, the study highlights the importance of gender diversity on boards, as more female representation is associated with increasing SDGD. Such empirical findings imply that banking companies should consider appointing more female directors to their boards to advance SDG initiatives. Policymakers can utilise these findings to formulate regulations, particularly regarding the minimum number of female directors on corporate boards. This research contributes to the limited SDGD literature in the emerging economy context, offering insights into how board gender diversity is associated with SDGD.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Disclosure and Governance
Early online date29 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2024

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