oa Meditari : Research Journal of the School of Accounting Sciences - Why do South African companies not report more environmental information when managers are so positive about this kind of reporting?
Previous research has highlighted a contradiction in regard to environmental reporting in South Africa. Managers, who can influence decisions regarding disclosure, express the view that more environmental reporting is needed, yet very little such reporting is done. A questionnaire was sent to every company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) with the request that the financial director should complete it. The questionnaire set out to establish whether managers are still as positive about environmental reporting as reported in previous research findings and, furthermore, to determine the reasons for the dearth of environmental reporting. Managers are still as positive as before about environmental reporting. The reasons for not reporting range from the contention that data is not available, that there are no legal requirements and that there is no demand for the data to the contention that it is not applicable to the particular industry and that costs exceed benefits. Most respondents do not regard the fear of liability to be a very important reason for non-disclosure. The most important reason for non-disclosure is that there is no legal requirement in respect of disclosure. This reason, together with the positive attitude of directors towards environmental reporting in general and towards reporting on a compulsory basis in particular, makes a strong case for the introduction of legislation in this regard. The introduction of legislation could be achieved by amending the Fourth Schedule of the Companies' Act or the introduction by The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) of a statement of Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) on environmental disclosure.
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