Original Research

Why do shareholders require corporate environmental disclosure?

Charl de Villiers, Chris van Staden
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 13, No 4 | a99 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v13i4.99 | © 2010 Charl de Villiers, Chris van Staden | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2010 | Published: 01 December 2010

About the author(s)

Charl de Villiers, The University of Auckland Business School
Chris van Staden, The University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand

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We do a survey of individual shareholders' corporate environmental disclosure needs. We find that South African 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.
Shareholders prefer this information in a separate section of the annual report and on company websites. 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 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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