Reaction to environmental accidents: A study in a Brazilian mining company

Priscila Karla da Silva Wink, Ana Lucia Fontes de Souza Vasconcelos, Umbelina Cravo Teixeira Lagioia, Mario Takayuki Kato, Valcemiro Nossa


The aim of this study is to analyze the reaction of a particular mining company in terms of disclosure in Sustainability Reports regarding the news about environmental accidents in which it was involved, as a form of legitimation. According to Legitimacy Theory, companies seek voluntarily to disclose information as a way to legitimize their activities vis-à-vis society in an attempt to maintain the so-called “social contract” between businesses and society. Thus, we analyzed the Sustainability Reports of a Brazilian mining company from 2004 to 2010. The analysis was performed using the Alceste® discourse analysis program, and the results were analyzed together with the three environmental accidents involving the company. The results show a change in the discourse on sustainability in the reports after these environmental accidents. The topic of environmental preservation took the space previously dedicated to the description of operational activities. There was also a strengthening of other aspects of legitimation through the publication of reports on awards of an environmental nature, which did not occur in disclosures previous to the accidents. We conclude that the findings of this study corroborate those reported by Deegan et al. (2000), which is the paper that inspired this work, and the aspects advocated by the Theory of Legitimacy.

Keywords: financial statements, Sustainability Report, Theory of Legitimacy.


Demonstrações Contábeis; Relatório de Sustentabilidade; Teoria da Legitimidade.

ISSN: 1984-8196 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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