Environmental, social and corporate governance reporting : perspectives from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and an international metals and mining sample

Mitchell, Samantha Laura (2014-12)

Thesis (MComm) – Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Global interest in responsible investing has grown in recent years. To make effective decisions, responsible investors require listed companies to report on financial and nonfinancial performance, giving particular attention to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations. This study was undertaken to address the paucity of academic research on ESG reporting in South Africa. A number of local studies had focused on environmental and governance reporting, but no studies had taken a holistic view of ESG reporting. Nor had any studies focused on the metals and mining industry in particular. This is a very important industry from an economic and ESG perspective, both in South Africa and internationally. The primary objective of this study was two-fold. Firstly, it was to investigate the extent of ESG reporting (both in South Africa and in a sample of international Metals and Mining companies). The second objective was to evaluate the factors that could potentially influence ESG reporting in these two samples. A positivistic research methodology was adopted as this approach allowed the researcher to test the stated research hypotheses. Quantitative secondary data were thus collected and analysed. The data collection process consisted of three phases: the first phase involved an extensive literature review of the key constructs; the second phase dealt with the collection of data for the dependent variable (Overall ESG score) from MSCI ESG Research’s database; and the third phase entailed collecting data for the 12 independent variables from Bureau van Dijk and selected websites. MSCI ESG Research’s universe was used to establish the two samples used in this study. The JSE sample consisted of 110 listed companies, whereas the international Metals and Mining sample consisted of 173 companies. Because MSCI ESG Research had completed only one year of ESG research when this study commenced, only data for 2012 were available. Descriptive and inferential statistics were completed to analyse the data. The empirical findings of the JSE sample show that the Governance pillar mean score was significantly higher than the Social pillar mean score and the Environmental pillar mean score. ESG reporting was found to be positively associated with companies which were included in the Nedbank Green Index. Companies included in the JSE Socially Responsible Index produced significantly better ESG reports than those excluded from the index. Significant differences were also noted in the Overall ESG score based on the nature of the industry in which a company operated. In the international Metals and Mining sample, two statistically significant relationships were found: larger companies had higher ESG score than smaller companies; and the greater the ownership concentration in a company, the better the ESG reporting on average. Four statistically significant differences were observed. Companies included in the FTSE4Good Index Series had better ESG scores than companies excluded from the index. Companies in developed countries had better ESG reporting than companies in emerging markets. The third difference related to companies which used the Global Reporting Initiative’s guidelines. These companies had higher Overall ESG scores than those which did not use the guidelines. The same applies to companies which were participants of the UN Global Compact and those who were not. It was concluded that investors who favour sound ESG reporting (and hence ESG management) should ideally focus on larger companies, those which are included in an responsible investing index, use the Global Reporting Initiative’s guidelines, and are participants of the UN Global Compact. Listed companies, particularly those in the Metals and Mining industry, should give more attention to environmental and social considerations, to the overall quality of their ESG reports, and should make more use of available initiatives to aid non-financial reporting.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die afgelope jare het belangstelling in verantwoordelike beleggings wêreldwyd toegeneem. Ten einde verantwoordelike beleggers in staat te stel om doeltreffende besluite te neem, moet genoteerde maatskappye oor hul finansiële én nie-finansiële prestasie verslag doen, met bepaalde klem op omgewings-, maatskaplike en korporatiewe beheer (OMB) kwessies. Hierdie studie is onderneem om ’n leemte in akademiese navorsing oor verslagdoening in Suid-Afrika te vul. ’n Aantal plaaslike studies het al op omgewings- en beheerverslagdoening gekonsentreer, maar geen navorsing tot dusver het OMB-verslagdoening holisties beskou nie. Ook het geen studies nog die soeklig op die metaal- en mynboubedryf in die besonder gewerp nie. Hierdie is ’n baie belangrike bedryf uit ’n ekonomiese en OMB-oogpunt, in Suid-Afrika sowel as internasionaal. Die hoofoogmerk van hierdie studie was tweeledig. Eerstens wou die studie ondersoek instel na die omvang van OMB-verslagdoening (by ’n Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef sowel as ’n steekproef van internasionale metaal- en mynboumaatskappye). Tweedens wou die navorsing die faktore bepaal wat ’n moontlike invloed op die OMB-verslagdoening van hierdie twee steekproewe kan hê. ’n Positivistiese navorsingsmetodologie is gebruik, aangesien hierdie benadering die navorser in staat gestel het om die navorsingshipoteses te toets. Kwantitatiewe sekondêre data was dus ingesamel en ontleed. Die data-insamelingsproses het uit drie fases bestaan: In die eerste fase was ’n omvattende literatuurstudie oor die hoofkonstrukte onderneem; die tweede fase het uit data-insameling oor die afhanklike veranderlike (algehele OMB-telling) uit die databasis van MSCI ESG Research bestaan, terwyl die derde fase data-insameling oor die 12 onafhanklike veranderlikes uit Bureau van Dijk en op uitgesoekte webtuistes behels het. Die universum van MSCI ESG Research is gebruik om die twee steekproewe in hierdie studie te bepaal. Die Suid-Afrikaanse steekproef het uit 110 genoteerde maatskappye bestaan, terwyl die steekproef van internasionale metaal- en mynboumaatskappye 173 entiteite ingesluit het. Aangesien MSCI ESG Research met die aanvang van hierdie studie nog net een jaar van OMB-navorsing onderneem het, was data slegs vir 2012 beskikbaar. Beskrywende en inferensiële statistieke is ontwikkel om die data te ontleed. Die empiriese bevindinge van die Suid-Afrikaanse-steekproef lewer ’n beduidend hoër gemiddelde telling vir beheerverslagdoening as vir maatskaplike en omgewingsverslagdoening op. OMB-verslagdoening blyk ’n positiewe korrelasie te toon met maatskappye wat by Nedbank se groen-indeks ingesluit is. Maatskappye wat ingesluit was in die Johannesburg Effektebeurs se indeks vir maatskaplike verantwoordelikheid het op hulle beurt aansienlik beter OMB-verslae opgestel as dié buite die indeks. Beduidende verskille in algehele OMB-tellings is ook opgemerk op grond van die aard van die bedryf waarin ’n maatskappy funksioneer. In die internasionale metaal- en mynbousteekproef is twee statisties beduidende verwantskappe aangetref: Groter maatskappye het ’n hoër OMB-telling as kleiner maatskappye getoon, en hoe hoër die eienaarskapskonsentrasie in ’n maatskappy, hoe beter die OMB-verslagdoening oor die algemeen. Vier statisties beduidende verskille is boonop waargeneem. Maatskappye wat deel was van die FTSE4Good-indeksreeks het beter OMBtellings opgelewer as maatskappye buite die indeks, en maatskappye in ontwikkelde lande het beter gevaar met OMB-verslagdoening as dié in ontluikende markte. Die derde verskil hou verband met maatskappye wat die riglyne van die Globale Verslagdoeningsinisiatief (GRI) volg, wat algeheel hoër OMB-tellings gehad het as diegene wat nié die riglyne gebruik nie. Dieselfde geld vir maatskappye wat aan die Verenigde Nasies (VN) se wêreldverdrag (“Global Compact”) deelneem en diegene wat nie deelneem nie. Die gevolgtrekking word gemaak dat beleggers wat goeie OMB-verslagdoening (en dus goeie OMB-bestuur) verkies, behoort te konsentreer op groter maatskappye, maatskappye wat by ’n indeks vir verantwoordelike belegging ingesluit is, wat die riglyne van die Internasionale Verslagdoeningsinisiatief volg, en wat aan die VN se wêreldverdrag deelneem. Genoteerde maatskappye, veral dié in die metaal- en mynboubedryf, behoort ook meer aandag te skenk aan omgewings- en maatskaplike sake sowel as die algehele gehalte van hul verslae, en behoort meer gebruik te maak van beskikbare inisiatiewe om nie-finansiële verslagdoening te ondersteun.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95862
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