n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Verslaggewing oor volhoubaarheid in die Mynbousektor : die identifisering van kritieke aangeleenthede : navorsings- en oorsigartikels

Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


Hierdie studie ondersoek tendense in die volhoubaarheidsverslaggewing deur vyf prominente mynmaatskappye wat op die JSE genoteer is. Die 2005-, 2006-, 2007- en 2008- jaar- en volhoubaarheidsverslae van hierdie maatskappye is ontleed deur middel van inhoudsanalise. Sleutelwoorde wat verband hou met ekonomiese bemagtiging, MIV / VIGS, ander gesondheid- en veiligheidsaangeleenthede en omgewingsimpak sowel as opleiding en onderwys, is getel. Hierdie aangeleenthede is ook gekategoriseer in terme van Carroll (1979; 1991) se korporatiewe sosiale verantwoordelikheids- (KSV) piramide wat bestaan uit ekonomiese, regs-, etiese en filantropiese verantwoordelikhede. Hierdie bevindinge het aangedui dat mynmaatskappye hoofsaaklik verslag lewer oor KSV-aangeleenthede wat hul winsgewendheid beïnvloed soos MIV / VIGS en ander gesondheidsverwante aangeleenthede. Daar word aanbeveel dat mynmaatskappye 'n meer gebalanseerde beskouing van die verskeie KSV-kategorieë huldig, ongeag die spesifieke kategorie se impak op winsgewendheid. Mynmaatskappye moet spesifiek hul pogings vermeerder (en verslaggewing fokus) op swart ekonomiese bemagtiging, opleiding en onderwys en werkverwante sterftes. Dit mag aanvanklik duur wees, maar kan bydra tot winsgewendheid op die lange duur. Dit sal ook mynmaatskappye se reputasie verbeter by belanghebbendes soos beleggers en verbruikers, wat maatskappye na waarde skat volgens die mate waartoe hulle hul etiese en filantropiese verantwoordelikhede nakom.

This study investigates trends with regard to sustainability reporting by five prominent mining companies listed on the JSE. The 2005 to 2008 annual and sustainability reports of these companies were analysed by means of content analysis. Keywords relating to economic empowerment, HIV / AIDS, other health and safety issues, environmental impact as well as training and education were counted. These issues were also categorised in terms of Carroll's (1979; 1991) corporate social responsibility (CSR) pyramid, which consists of economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities.
Although the total number of pages dedicated to CSR issues increased in four of the sample companies over the period 2005 to 2008, the keywords-per-page-ratio has decreased or remained constant for all of them. In 2008 Anglo Platinum had the highest keywords-per-page-ratio (1.03) followed by AngloGold Ashanti (1.01), Harmony Gold Mining Company (0.88), Gold Fields (0.86) and DRDGold (0.53). DRDGold's low keywords-per-page-ratio could be a result of its comparatively smaller size and its non-compliance with the GRI's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
The most important CSR issues reported on by mining companies in all four years were that of HIV / AIDS as well as other health and safety issues. The fact that these CSR issues ranked first and second respectively can be attributed to the direct costs they inflict on the mining companies' profits. This finding makes intuitive sense as companies need to take care of those CSR issues that impact on their bottom line before they can redistribute earnings to meet other ethical and philanthropic responsibilities. Given the adverse impact that mining companies have on the natural environment it is not surprising to note the relatively low importance given to these issues in the companies' annual and sustainability reports. And it certainly is not a case of "no news is good news".
It is also worrying that CSR issues relating to training and education have such a low overall priority as one would expect that trained employees would be more productive and hence have a positive impact on profitability. It is, however, encouraging that CSR issues relating to training and education have received more attention in the companies' annual and sustainability reports in the course of the evaluation period. The increased reporting on economic empowerment issues could be indicative of the fact that mining companies are starting to go beyond the letter of the law by better communicating their efforts in this regard to their stakeholders.
DRDGold had the highest percentage of CSR keywords reported on in four of the six CSR categories in 2005 and in two of six categories in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Closer inspection, however, reveals that its CSR reporting is not balanced as close to 80 percent of its CSR reporting focuses on HIV / AIDS and other health and safety issues. DRDGold is the smallest mining company in the sample and does not subscribe to the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. It does not publish a separate sustainability report and had the lowest overall CSR keyword-per-page ratio. This finding points to the fact that stakeholders need to look beyond the glossy pages of companies' sustainability reports when evaluating CSR performance. It also confirms that sustainability reports are often written to portray companies in the best possible light, especially when it comes to promoting their CSR initiatives. In this case "more information" does not necessarily translate into "better information".
The local mining sector cannot ignore the importance of CSR issues as doing so might risk them becoming ostracised by stakeholders. In recent years institutional investors across the globe and in South Africa have become more critical in terms of their portfolio selection criteria and ownership policies. More investors are considering environmental, social and corporate governance issues as they are recognising the adverse impact that these risk factors can have on the future profitability if left unmanaged by investee companies. Four out of the five mining companies evaluated in this study were constituents of the FTSE / JSE Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) index in 2008. DRDGold was the only company not to feature in the index. Although participation in the index is voluntary, it does, however, show that a company is committed to improving its CSR standing. Participation in the index is thus strongly recommended.

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