Investigating the extent of sustainability reporting in the banking industry

  • Published December 9, 2016
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    Volume 11 2016, Issue #4, pp. 71-81

This study investigated the extent to which banks in South Africa report on remuneration and incentives according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. The study was done by examining the annual integrated reports of eight commercial banks listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Content analysis was used as the research method in this empirical study. There was, on average, 75% compliance to G4-51 a, the standard concerning remuneration policies by the integrated reports studied and 69% compliance to G4-52 a, the standard concerning the process for determining remuneration. There was a very low degree of compliance to standard G-53 a and standard G4-55 a, which concern how stakeholders’ views are sought and taken into account regarding remuneration and the ratios regarding compensation, respectively. Two of the standards had no compliance at all. They are G4-51 b and G4-54 a that respectively, concerns how the performance criteria in the remuneration policy relate to the highest governance bodies’ and senior executives’ economic, environmental and social objectives and the ratio of the annual total compensation for the organization’s highest-paid individual in each country of significant operations to the median annual total compensation for all employees. These are two of the most important standards in order to reach the objective of social responsibility reporting with regards to remuneration and that serious consideration must be given as to why there is no compliance. Based on the findings from this study, it is found that social reporting by the banks listed on the JSE with regards to remuneration, as indicated by the GRI G4, are relatively poor.

Keywords: sustainability reporting, sustainable development, global reporting initiative, integrated reporting; remuneration and incentives, corporate social responsibility, banking industry, South Africa.
JEL Classification: M14, N2, N27, M52

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