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An analysis of water-related sustainability disclosure of Socially Responsible Investment-indexed JSE-listed companies
Botha, Marthinus Jacobus
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South Africa is facing a water crisis in terms of the scarcity and the quality of its water. Considering this water-constrained future it is evident that companies in South Africa should pay attention to the pristine management of this scarce resource. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the reporting and disclosure requirements of water of Socially Responsible Investment-indexed (SRI) JSE-listed companies. The disclosure requirements of the integrated report, King III, the Global Reporting Initiative and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, provided the theoretical background to develop a water disclosure index. Content analysis was used as the research method to analyse the integrated and sustainability reports of a selected group of SRI indexed JSE-listed companies. The results were analysed in terms of the disclosure on items such as materiality, governance, corporate policies, environmental management systems, risk assessments and key performance indicators. The findings of the study include that most of the companies illustrate commitment towards water stewardship by reporting on water-related aspects. The mining sector rated the highest on disclosure and reporting of water-related aspects by providing the most detailed descriptions by indicating that they clearly understand the context of their operations and the associated risks. In the process of analysing the integrated and sustainability reports with specific reference to the key performance indicators, it was evident that companies lack comparability and consistency in their disclosure. It is recommended that companies improve the relevance, depth and clarity of their disclosure on water.