Reliability of corporate environmental reports produced by listed South African companies

  • Published June 3, 2016
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    Volume 7 2016, Issue #2, pp. 29-39

The aim of this research is to evaluate the reliability of environmental reports produced by the Top 100 listed South African (T100LSA) companies. A content analysis of environmental reports contained in the Integrated Annual Reports (IARs), sustainability reports and companies’ corporate websites was conducted using a control list.
The findings of the study reveal that in general, the environmental reports produced by the T100LSA companies are reliable as most companies’ reports have a statement from the top management, describe the organization’s structures in place at various levels to deal with environmental matters, as well as the initiatives undertaken to mitigate environmental impacts. In addition, most companies disclose their external recognition for environmental achievement or their involvement with external parties on environmental matters. Furthermore, most of the companies’ reports contain third party commentary and indicate that the companies have adopted the best practice in environmental performance management and reporting.
Besides, most companies report in a balanced manner including both positive and negative information pertaining to risks faced and the opportunities missed or seized, as well as their environmental policy, mission, objectives and strategies. However, there was a need for improvement, as only a half of the companies’ environmental reports had an assurance statement from an independent party, which mostly failed to indicate the procedures performed by the assuror

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