Relevance of corporate environmental reports produced by listed South African companies

  • Published March 24, 2016
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    Volume 7 2016, Issue #1, pp. 97-107
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    1 articles

The broad aim of this research is to assess the relevance of environmental reports produced by the Top 100 listed South African (T100LSA) companies. The study is motivated by a lack of research on the relevance of environmental reports in South Africa, given the dramatic increase in the number of companies producing these reports as well as the expansion of the volumes of the reports produced. A content analysis of environmental reports contained in the Integrated Annual Reports (IARs), sustainability reports and companies’ corporate websites is conducted using a control list.
The findings of the study reveal that in general, the environmental reports produced by the T100LSA companies are relevant as most companies have disclosed how they select stakeholders for engagement, their methods of engagement, engagement process and outcomes and how content reported on is selected. In addition, the companies have disclosed how they address and respond to key stakeholders’ concerns as well as their initiatives to encourage stakeholders to participate in the companies’ activities. Furthermore the companies disclose their general performance indicators. However, there is a need for improvement in the disclosure of metric to quantify the effectiveness of the stakeholder engagement and reference to GRI sector specific indicators when selecting content to report on. More importantly, there is a need to improve on the use of on-line features to enhance relevance of the reports such as encouraging users to be part of the writing process by enabling them to edit, analyze and share the reported information, and tracking their use of on-line reports

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