The Chinese government has implemented the circular economy-related legislation for guiding firms’ responsible production in 2009. In the 12th-five (2011–2015) and 13th-five (2016–2020) Economic and Sustainable Plans, circular economy is also deemed the core part of green development in China. However, a significant research gap remains that which types of firms actively disclosed circular economy information (i.e., reducing, reusing and recycling) following the national policy to establish legitimacy and create a green advantage in China. Based on this perspective, this research focuses on the period of 2011–2017. The sample consists of 3,768 firms and is analyzed using regression analysis. The coding technique of content analysis is applied to measure disclosure of circular economy information. Content analysis is an analytic technique that converts text descriptions into quantitative data in a systematic and objective manner. The empirical evidence of this study shows that firms in environmentally-sensitive industries and larger firms tended to disclose significantly more circular economy information to meet the information needs of stakeholders. It also shows that state-owned enterprises played the role of a leader in implementing circular economy during 2013–2017. Besides, firms which disclosed more circular economy information were associated with significantly higher sustainable growth rate and return on equity. The findings of this paper suggest that corporate managers redesign production processes towards zero waste and resource effectiveness. The contribution of this paper is that it clarifies the affecting factors and financial impacts of circular economy information for Chinese firms. The findings can fill the literature gap related to the new highlights of environmental disclosure-related circular economy actions in developing countries.
Sustainable Production and Consumption 27, p.986-997