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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 1015-8812

Abstract

DE VILLIERS, Charl  and  VAN STADEN, Chris. Why do shareholders' require corporate environmental disclosure?. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2010, vol.13, n.4, pp. 437-446. ISSN 1015-8812.

We do a survey of individual shareholders' corporate environmental disclosure needs. We find that South African individual shareholders require companies to disclose the following specific environmental information: environmental risks and impacts, environmental policy, measurable environmental targets, performance against targets, environmental costs disclosed separately, and an independent environmental audit report. Respondents prefer this information in a separate section of the annual report and on company websites. Individual shareholders want such disclosure to be prescribed by law and/or stock exchange rules. The most popular reason why they want environmental information disclosed is to hold companies accountable for their environmental stewardship. A high percentage of individual shareholders also indicate that they want disclosure because they are concerned about climate change. These findings imply that legislators and standard setters may have to consider changing disclosure laws and standards.

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