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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Die Suid-Afrikaanse indeks vir maatskaplik verantwoordbare belegging en klimaatsverandering - lesse vir die toekoms? : regte

 

Abstract

Maatskaplik verantwoordbare belegging, of MVB, kan beskryf word as investering wat, gesien met verwysing na die bedrywighede van 'n maatskappy, beskou kan word as verantwoordelik teenoor die samelewing in die breë. Veral in die lig van klimaatsverandering en die sterk klem op omgewingsvriendelikheid is beleggers deesdae veel gevoeliger vir die invloed wat maatskappye op hul omringende omgewing het. Beleggers laat hulle oënskynlik in hul beleggingsbesluite lei deur 'n maatskappy se sogenaamde volhoubaarheid. In Suid-Afrika is die MVB-indeks van die JSE Beperk 'n metingsinstrument wat beleggers 'n blik bied op 'n maatskappy, die manier waarop hy sake doen, sy volhoubaarheid en sy volhoubaarheidsverslagdoening. Die indeks is tot stand gebring in antwoord op die King-kodes oor korporatiewe bestuur, in die besonder King II en III, wat onder meer aanbevelings bevat oor geïntegreerde verslagdoening in verband met volhoubaarheidsake. Hierdie artikel ondersoek eerstens die begrip , waarna die ontwikkeling, maatstawwe en werking van die MVB-indeks aan die beurt kom. Die skrywers kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat die sorgvuldige beplanning, weldeurdagte maatstawwe en deeglike beoordeling van die indeks dit 'n belangrike instrument ter bevordering van volhoubaarheid maak. Tog is daar ook twee besondere uitdagings. Eerstens is dit belangrik dat maatskappye moet besef dat die indeks nie bedoel is om hulself in die gunstigste moontlike lig te probeer stel nie, maar eerder om waarlik te weerspieël wat hulle doen om klimaatsverandering te stuit en te temper. Tweedens moet verdere navorsing onderneem word oor die werklike impak van die indeks op beleggingsbesluite en of beleggers inderdaad volhoubaarheid as een van die bepalende faktore in hul beleggingsbesluite in ag neem. Die uiteindelike oogmerk is egter dat inisiatiewe soos die MVB-indeks voortaan 'n beduidende bydrae sal lewer tot die skep van 'n balans tussen volhoubare groei en ontwikkeling en die winsgewendheid van 'n maatskappy, binne die nie-onderhandelbare grense van die planeet. Laastens word hervorming van en wysigings aan die Maatskappywet, 2008 bepleit ten einde breër omgewingsverwante kwessies as deel van volhoubaarheid te akkommodeer.


This article examines socially responsible investment (SRI) in South Africa in the broad context of corporate governance and relevant legislative provisions. SRI conceptualises ethical, green and sustainable considerations when investment decisions are made. SRI strives to promote environmental responsibility, consumer protection and human rights as well as corporate conduct that serve these broad ideals. Although relatively new, SRI is becoming increasingly important to companies. In the light of climate change and other environmental issues investors are watching companies more closely and want to know how companies impact the broader society, the environment and their own employees. Companies should also realise that SRI, together with sustainability, will benefit the company itself, the environment and the broader community.
The JSE Ltd is the largest stock exchange in Africa and was the first to create an SRI index in an emerging market economy. The JSE Ltd SRI index is a sustainability index. It measures the standard of sustainability reporting of a company against that of other participating companies. It also gives investors a transparent view of the company and the way business is conducted. This information, contained in an integrated report is an important tool to indicate possible future risk of liability to which a company may be exposed. Information on a company's environmental impact and practices may show possible financial liability in terms of environmental legislation.
The JSE Ltd SRI index promotes the corporate governance regime envisaged by the most recent King code of corporate governance. This code, King III, which came into force on 1 March 2010, is applicable to all companies, private and public entities and all other forms of business enterprises. The SRI index is an extension of the compliance and monitoring of obligations on companies in terms of corporate governance codes and legislation, with specific reference to the Companies Act. Two important aspects are highlighted: firstly, the increasing roll of corporate governance and the influence of King III on legislation and the legal environment, and secondly, the indirect enforcement mechanism of corporate governance with specific reference to company law. Concepts originally enunciated in King III are now also incorporated in the Companies Act. King III strongly highlighted the importance of a company's corporate citizenship and how it relates to the entity's performance in the economic, social and environmental sphere. The social and ethics committee as one of the board committees prescribed by the Companies Act is a direct incorporation of this ethical and social role of the company. In terms of section 72(4) of the Companies Act the Minister may, by regulation, prescribe that all listed companies, subject to specific exceptions, must appoint a social and ethics committee. This committee is specifically tasked with overseeing company activities and giving guidance on various matters. This must be done within the context of any relevant legislation, other legal requirements and current corporate governance codes. Listed companies are therefore bound by the principles in King III, either because it is required by the listing requirements of the JSE Ltd or because their social and ethics committees must ensure compliance with current governance codes. The social and ethics committee is also obliged to ensure compliance with environmental legislation.

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/content/litnet/10/3/EJC147726
2013-12-01
2016-12-05
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