Sustainability and integrated reporting in the South African corporate sector

Van Zyl, Anria S. (2013-08)

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Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


This article aims to determine if the adoption of Integrated Reporting by large private sector companies in South Africa has led to an improvement in the quality of sustainability-related information disclosed. This was done in two stages. The first stage comprised a literature review with the aim to develop an evaluation matrix that can be used to access the quality of the sustainability-related information being disclosed within Integrated Reports. During the second stage, empirical evidence was obtained by assessing the sustainability reporting disclosures made by the best performers according to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Sustainability Index. The Integrated Reporting process is still in the development phase with many companies only now developing methodologies to measure their various impacts. The study found that, although many companies are attempting or claiming to be creating Integrated Reports, the level of integration is still very low. Few companies have incorporated or understood the importance of environmental and social sustainability in achieving long-term success. It is hoped that this research will provide an evaluation matrix to assess the information disclosed within Integrated Reports as well as provide insights into the implementation challenges experienced by the early adopters in South Africa.

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