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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812

Abstract

KAMALA, Pieter Nasiema; WINGARD, Christa  and  CRONJE, Christo. Users' corporate environmental information needs. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2016, vol.19, n.4, pp.579-591. ISSN 2222-3436.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2222-3436/2016/v19n4a8.

Most listed South African companies appear to have embarked on environmental reporting without enquiring what the users' needs are. If users' needs are not determined prior to reporting, it is unlikely that the resulting reports will meet those needs. Using a questionnaire, this study investigated the environmental information needs of South African users of environmental reports. The study was deemed necessary to unveil users' preferences which, if incorporated in reports, could enhance their perceived decision-usefulness, thus increasing readership. The results of the survey revealed that users need balanced environmental information that identifies and describes key, relevant issues and that is both specific and accurate. In addition, users need future-oriented information that identifies and addresses key stakeholders' concerns, and which demonstrates the integration of environmental issues into core business processes. Furthermore the information should be summarised in an integrated annual report and posted on a company's website. Based on its findings, this study recommends that standard setters and regulators should recognise that both financial and non-financial users need decision-useful environmental reports. Disclosure standards and regulations should therefore be amended to accommodate this reality.

Keywords : environmental reports; users; relevance; reliability; verifiability; comparability; understandability; timeliness; conceptual framework.

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