oa Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences - The company as a responsible corporate citizen : an analysis of the board's commitment to sustainability

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1995-7076



Organisations are increasingly realising that they are members of a wider community and must therefore behave in a responsible manner. The boards of directors of organisations play a critical role in ensuring that companies conduct their business in a responsible and sustainable manner, and in providing accurate, reliable and credible reporting to their stakeholders.

The objective of the paper is twofold: to provide a brief overview of the development of corporate citizenship, sustainability and sustainability reporting and the board's role in this regard; and, secondly, to provide evidence regarding the board's commitment to sustainability as disclosed in a company's sustainability reporting. This is achieved through a literature review of current corporate governance and sustainability developments and practices. This review is supported by empirical evidence obtained from assessing the sustainability reporting of companies through a content analysis of the annual reports of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited's Socially Responsible Index. The study found that sustainability and sustainability reporting are widely researched and advocated in the literature, and that companies report a commitment to sustainability, but that these reports lack specific detail concerning the board's responsibility for and commitment to sustainability.

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