Original Research

Integrated report content evolution: A case study of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange food and drug retail sector

Vanessa M. Gregory
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 26, No 1 | a4397 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v26i1.4397 | © 2023 Vanessa M. Gregory | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 October 2021 | Published: 24 January 2023

About the author(s)

Vanessa M. Gregory, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, College of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


Background: Since the release of the King III report in 2009, and the adoption of these principles in the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) listing requirements, there has been a surge in integrated reporting guidelines, including the release of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) framework and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting standards, with an updated code for corporate governance, King IV, subsequently being published. These introductions have simulated a growth in research on integrated reporting; however, the impact of these initiatives on the annual integrated report (AIR) composition or format has not been explored.

Aim: The objective of this article is to examine, compare and contrast identified trends in the composition of published AIRs following the release of the aforementioned guidelines.

Setting: JSE-listed companies in the food and drug retail sector were analysed from 2009 to 2018.

Methods: The study applied both qualitative and quantitative content analysis techniques to analyse the composition of AIRs.

Results: The composition of AIRs of companies within the given sector and timespan has shifted, shown through a decrease in the number of pages containing annual financial statements and an increase in governance, strategy and sustainability information. Annual integrated reports have moved to explaining financial results with reference to full financial statements published online, with the other identified shifts coinciding closely with the release of integrated reporting developments. These results suggest that there has been an uptake in application of new reporting initiatives.

Contribution: The article revealed that new reporting guidelines had been applied, generating a change in the composition of AIRs over the years, contributing to the body of knowledge on the reporting of economic, environmental and social perspectives.

Conclusion: A comprehensive foundational study has been created that has illustrated that AIRs have developed in relation to new reporting initiatives.


integrated reporting; sustainability reporting; International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC); Global Reporting Initiative (GRI); King code of corporate governance; food and drug retail sector; composition of annual integrated reports


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