Project Title: Critical Assessment of Environmental Sustainability Reporting using the GRI G4 Guidelines: A Case Study of the South African Gold Sector
Research Theme: Decision Support and Innovation
Supervisors: Jennifer L. Broadhurst
Sustainability reports ought to be key channels for communication with stakeholders, enhancing organisational accountability and transparency. However, the proliferation of sustainability metrics and the voluntary nature of reporting leads to inconsistencies in the quality of sustainability reporting, invariably affecting its functionality and effectiveness. This research project investigates the quality and functionality of sustainability reporting within the South African gold mining sector. Firstly, a framework for characterising and subsequently assessing the quality of sustainability reports was developed based on a review and analysis of the published literature. This framework was then applied in a multi-method approach consisting of a desktop review involving a content analysis of three company reports that disclose performance according to the GRI G4 Guidelines, and semi-structured interviews with key internal and external stakeholders. The analysis shows that while sustainability reports in the South African mining sector have been found to have beneficial functions for both internal and external stakeholders, they also presented quality issues that are both technical and socio-political in nature.
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