Earth Institute Research Collection

Permanent URI for this collection

For more information, please visit the official website.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 227
  • Publication
    Reporting controversial issues in controversial industries
    Purpose: This article explores how companies in multiple controversial industries report their controversial issues. For the first time, the authors use a new conceptualization of controversial industries, focused on harm and solutions, to investigate the reports of 28 companies in seven controversial industries: Agricultural Chemicals, Alcohol, Armaments, Coal, Gambling, Oil and Tobacco. Design/methodology/approach: The authors thematically analyzed company reports to determine if companies in controversial industries discuss their controversial issues in their reporting, if and how they communicate the harm caused by their products or services, and what solutions they provide. Findings: From this study data the authors introduce a new legitimacy reporting method in the controversial industries literature: the solutions companies offer for the harm caused by their products and services. The authors find three solution reporting methods: no solution, misleading solution and less-harmful solution. The authors also develop a new typology of reporting strategies used by companies in controversial industries based on how they report their key controversial issue and the harm caused by their products or services, and the solutions they offer. The authors identify seven reporting strategies: Ignore, Deny, Decoy, Dazzle, Distort, Deflect and Adapt. Research limitations/implications: Further research can test the typology and identify strategies used by companies in different institutional or regulatory settings, across different controversial industries or in larger populations. Practical implications: Investors, consumers, managers, activists and other stakeholders of controversial companies can use this typology to identify the strategies that companies use to report controversial issues. They can assess if reports admit to the controversial issue and the harm caused by a company's products and services and if they provide solutions to that harm. Originality/value: This paper develops a new typology of reporting strategies by companies in controversial industries and adds to the theory and discourse on social and environmental reporting (SER) as well as the literature on controversial industries.
  • Publication
    Impact of social sustainability orientation and supply chain practices on operational performance
    Purpose: Socially sustainable supply chain (SSSC) practices address pressing social issues and may provide operational benefits as well as positive impacts on society. However, due to gaps in the current knowledge, it is difficult to know what practices will provide benefits and what management orientations can maximize the impact of these practices on operational performance. The purpose of this paper is to advance the knowledge on the effect of social sustainability orientation on operational performance by examining the mediating roles of basic and advanced SSSC practices and the moderating role of long-term orientation (LTO). Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected through a survey of US-based companies about their relationships with key suppliers. Confirmatory factor analysis and multiple regression were used to test the proposed moderated mediation model. Findings: Surprisingly, sustainability orientation predicts operational performance through advanced but not basic SSSC practices. Results also indicate that the effect of sustainability orientation on operational performance is significantly moderated by LTO. Research limitations/implications: Results are limited by the US context, the cross-sectional nature of the research, the use of a single-respondent survey instrument and the challenges of measuring LTO. Practical implications: Managers and policymakers should be aware of the limitations of adopting basic SSSC practices on the performance of their operations. Advanced practices provide a more robust business case and significantly and positively impact operational performance. In addition, the interaction of a sustainability orientation and LTO can lead to even greater improvements in firms’ operational performance. Firms with the highest levels of social sustainability and LTOs attain superior operational performance. Originality/value: This study contributes to the growing literature on sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) and extends this literature by focusing on social sustainability practices, identifying specific practices that impact and the orientations that maximize operational performance. The authors contribute to the growing literature on the importance of manager’s temporal orientation and provide nuance to emerging SSCM theory by exposing the interplay of these orientations and the impact of SSSC practice adoption.
    Scopus© Citations 119  22
  • Publication
    Gunnera tinctoria invasions increase, not decrease, earthworm abundance and diversity
    Invasive plants often modify soil biotic communities through changes in soil physicochemical characteristics or the amount and/or quality of litter inputs. We assessed the impacts of Gunnera tinctoria invasions on soil and the earthworm community, on Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland. We compared replicated (n = 5) areas invaded by G. tinctoria with uninvaded semi-natural grasslands, as well as with areas subjected to mechanical removal or herbicide treatment. Modifications in physiochemical properties included lower soil temperatures and higher soil pH during the summer in invaded areas, yet little effect on C and N stocks, or soil moisture. Marked differences in litter were observed, however, with invaded areas having c. 20-fold higher (above-ground) litter input than uninvaded ones, as well as lower C:N ratio (17 vs. 29). This was associated with a significantly higher overall abundance and biomass of earthworms in invaded plots (375 individuals m–2, 115 g biomass m–2), compared to the uninvaded control (130 individuals m–2, 45 g biomass m–2), with removal treatments having intermediate values. Earthworm communities comprised 10 species, typical for Irish grasslands, dominated by the common endogeic species Allolobophora chlorotica, Aporrectodea caliginosa and Aporrectodea rosea. Both earthworm species richness and Shannon diversity were significantly higher in invaded areas, but only in spring samples. Based on this new information, plant invaders may increase the abundance and diversity of earthworms, mainly due to much larger litter inputs, increased soil pH and possibly lower soil temperatures in the summer typical of Irish grasslands.
    Scopus© Citations 3  19
  • Publication
    The large Gunnera’s (G. tinctoria and G. manicata) in Europe in relation to EU regulation 1143/2014
    Incorrect labelling of plants in the horticultural trade and misidentification is widespread. For the inspection services of the EU member states, correct identification of G. tinctoria has become important since the species was added to the List of Union concern in accordance with EU regulation 1143/2014 in August 2017. In the horticultural trade Gunnera plants are generally of modest dimensions and rarely flowering, so that the major distinguishing morphological characters for the identification of the two large species, G. tinctoria and G. manicata, are missing. As G. tinctoria is included in the EU regulation, its trade is prohibited, although the closely related species, G. manicata is not included on the list. Given that it is often difficult to distinguish between these two large herbaceous species using morphological attributes we used standard chloroplast DNA barcode markers, supplemented at a later stage by ITS markers. Plant material of putative G. tinctoria or G. manicata was obtained from the native and introduced range, both from “wild” sources, botanical gardens, and the horticultural trade. In western Europe plants circulating in the horticultural trade turned out to be predominantly G. tinctoria, with only one plant in cultivation identified as true G. manicata and the G. manicata found in botanical gardens was a hybrid recently described as G. x cryptica.
  • Publication
    Variations in Soil Properties and CO2 Emissions of a Temperate Forest Gully Soil along a Topographical Gradient
    Although forest soils play an important role in the carbon cycle, the influence of topography has received little attention. Since the topographical gradient may affect CO2 emissions and C sequestration, the aims of the study were: (1) to identify the basic physicochemical and microbial parameters of the top, mid-slope, and bottom of a forest gully; (2) to carry out a quantitative assessment of CO2 emission from these soils incubated at different moisture conditions (9% and 12% v/v) and controlled temperature (25 °C); and (3) to evaluate the interdependence between the examined parameters. We analyzed the physicochemical (content of total N, organic C, pH, clay, silt, and sand) and microbial (enzymatic activity, basal respiration, and soil microbial biomass) parameters of the gully upper, mid-slope, and bottom soil. The Fourier Transformed Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) method was used to measure CO2 emitted from soils. The position in the forest gully had a significant effect on all soil variables with the gully bottom having the highest pH, C, N concentration, microbial biomass, catalase activity, and CO2 emissions. The sand content decreased as follows: top > bottom > mid-slope and the upper area had significantly lower clay content. Dehydrogenase activity was the lowest in the mid-slope, probably due to the lower pH values. All samples showed higher CO2 emissions at higher moisture conditions, and this decreased as follows: bottom > top > mid-slope. There was a positive correlation between soil CO2 emissions and soil microbial biomass, pH, C, and N concentration, and a positive relationship with catalase activity, suggesting that the activity of aerobic microorganisms was the main driver of soil respiration. Whilst the general applicability of these results to other gully systems is uncertain, the identification of the slope-related movement of water and inorganic/organic materials as a significant driver of location-dependent differences in soil respiration, may result in some commonality in the changes observed across different gully systems.
    Scopus© Citations 3  15