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The environmental performance and management disclosure of organisations has over the past decade come under increased scrutiny due to a number of factors including, in particular, the impact organisations have had on the world’s environment and the corresponding rapid change in the world’s climate. These concerns have made organisations, including financial institutions, review the level of their environmental performance and management disclosures to demonstrate, amongst other objectives, their level of social responsibility. Financial institutions due to the nature of their business are not generally seen to contribute directly to the degradation of the environment however they do provide the funds for many organisations’ projects which do directly impact on the environment. This paper will review the environmental performance and management disclosures of two note issuing banks in Hong Kong; the Hongkong and Shangihai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited (BOCHK) from 2003 to 2006. This review will be conducted with reference to the Equator Principles, a voluntary environmental performance framework, which were developed specifically for financial institutions. The second purpose of this paper is to contribute to the literature on legitimation theory with specific reference to the social constructionalist perspective of legitimation.

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