CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING PRACTICES: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NIGERIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN FIRMS

CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING PRACTICES: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NIGERIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN FIRMS

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GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Accounting: Is seen as the art of recording, classifying and summarising in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of a financial character, and interpreting the result thereof.

Content Analysis: is a research tool or technique used to determine the presence of certain words or concepts within texts or sets of texts. Researchers quantify and analyze the presence, meanings and relationships of such words and concepts, then make inferences about the messages within the texts, the writer(s), the audience, and even the culture and time of which these are a part.

Corporate Environmental Reports: Are only one form of environmental reporting defined as publicly available, stand-alone reports issued voluntarily by companies on their environmental activities.

Corporate Social Responsibility: It is seen as a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company's effects on the environment and impact on social welfare.

Eco-Efficiency: The term eco-efficiency was coined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in its 1992 publication Changing Course. It is based on the concept of creating more goods and services while using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution.

Ecology: The comprehensive science of the relationship of the organism to the environment

Emissions: Are gases and particles released into the air as by-products of a natural or man-made process. It is the release or discharge of a substance into the environment. One of these processes is the burning of fuels to create electricity and other forms of energy. The emissions from burning fossil fuels contribute significantly to global warming and poor air quality.

Environment: All of the surrounding conditions and influences (physical and biological) affecting the development of living things; often refers to natural resources like air, land and water.

Environmental Accounting: Is a broader term that relates to the provision of environmental-performance related information to stakeholders both within, and outside, the organisation.

Environmental Aspect: Element of an organisations activities, products or services that can interact with the environment.

Environmental Audit: An inspection system that assesses the environmental effects of a company's activities, products and suppliers. It covers specific audit of health, safety, waste prevention and other matter and focuses on environmental issues of key concern. It also takes into account the environmental performance of suppliers of raw materials, goods and services.

Environmental Impact: Any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organisations activities, products or services. A systematic and documented verification process of objectively obtaining and evaluating evidence to determine whether an organisations environmental management system conforms to the environmental management system audit criteria set by the organisation, and for communication of the results of this process to management.

Environmental Costs: Comprise the costs of steps taken, or required to be taken, to manage the environmental impacts of an enterprise's activity in an environmentally responsible manner, as well as other costs driven by the environmental objectives and requirements of the enterprise. They are expenses incurred as a result of some violation of ecological integrity either by an enterprise that implements a program to rectify the situation or by society or the ecosystem as a whole when no person or enterprise is held liable.

External Cost: These are costs that a producer or a consumer imposes on another producer or consumer, outside of any market transaction between them

Environmental Management System: The part of the overall management system that includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the environmental policy.

Environmental Performance: Measurable results of the environmental management system, related to an organisations control of its environmental aspects, based on its environmental policy, objectives and targets.

Environmental Policy: Statement by the organisation of its intentions and principles in relation to its overall environmental performance which provides a framework for action and for the setting of its environmental objectives and targets.

Environmental Management: Can be described as the management of all components of the bio-physical environment, both living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic). Environmental management is therefore not the conservation of the environment solely for the environment's sake, but rather the conservation of the environment for humankind's.

Environmental Management Accounting: Is defined as the identification, collection, estimation, analysis, internal reporting, and use of materials and energy flow information, environmental cost information, and other cost information for both conventional and environmental decision-making within an organization.

Environmental Management System Audit: A systematic and documented verification process of objectively obtaining and evaluating evidence to determine whether an organisations environmental management system conforms to the environmental management system audit criteria set by the organisation, and for communication of the results of this process to management.

Environmental Liabilities: Are obligations relating to environmental costs that are incurred by an enterprise and that meet the criteria for recognition as a liability.

Environmental Performance Evaluation: EPE is described as a process to facilitate management decisions regarding an organization’s environmental performance by selecting indicators, collecting and analyzing data, assessing information against environmental performance criteria, reporting and communicating, and periodic review and improvement of this

Environmental Performance Report: It is a report designed for public reporting that discloses an entity's environmental performance in the broadest sense. It contains both descriptive information and quantitative performance data. Performance data can be provided in financial terms, but also in physical quantities. An EPR may be published in a section of the annual report, or as a stand-alone report.

Environmental Strategy: A plan of action intended to accomplish a specific environmental objective

Environmental Reporting: Public disclosure by a firm of its environmental performance information, similar to the publication of its financial performance information. The process of communicating the social and environmental effects of organizations’ economic actions to particular interest groups within society and to society at large\

Financial Analyst: An employee of a bank, brokerage, advisor, or mutual fund who studies companies and makes buy and sell recommendations, often specializing in a single sector or industry.

Full Cost Accounting (FCA): Generally refers to the process of collecting and presenting information (costs as well as advantages) for each proposed alternative when a decision is necessary.

Future Site Restoration Costs: These are costs that relate to damages incurred in prior periods which are necessary to prepare an asset or activity for operation. They are recognized as environmental liability at the time the related damage is incurred (identified). They should be capitalised (and amortised to the income statement over the life of the related operations).

Global Warming: An increase of the earth's temperature by a few degrees resulting in an increase in the volume of water which contributes to sea-level rise. Increase in the average temperature of the earth's surface or a rise in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere due to the increase in certain gases in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse Gas: Gases added to the atmosphere by human actions that trap heat and cause global warming. This is a collective term for gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides (among others) that trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

Investors: An individual who commits money to investment products with the expectation of financial return.

Involuntary Disclosure: The disclosure of information about a company’s environmental activities without its permission and against its will.

Liability: Is a present obligation of the enterprise arising from past events, the settlement of which is expected to result in an outflow from the enterprise of resources embodying economic benefits

Lobby Groups: Group that attempts to influence a legislation or government spending plans to achieve an outcome more favorable to its agenda or objectives.

Mandatory Disclosure: The disclosure of information about a company’s environmental activities that is required by law

Performance Indicators: Are finite set of quantities chosen to reflect certain aspects in an organisation. They are number, absolute or relative terms that facilitates managements communication and follow-up of an organisation’s performance

Social Audi: The process of reviewing and verifying the social accounts at the end of each social audit cycle. The term social audit is also used generically for the concept and for the whole process.

Socially Responsible Investors: Also known as sustainable, socially-conscious, or ethical investor are those investors which basically seeks to maximize both financial returns and social good. In general, social responsible investors tend to favor corporate practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights, and diversity.

Standard: A document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provides for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

Standardization: The activities of establishing with regard to actual or potential problems, provisions for common and repeated use, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context. In particular the activities consist of the process of formulating, issuing and implementing standards.

Stakeholders:  A person, group, organization, or system who affects or can be affected by an organization's actions.

Sustainable Development: Development that ensures that the use of resources and the environment today does not restrict their use by future generations.

Voluntary Disclosure: The disclosure of information on a voluntary basis.

ABSTRACT

Environmental issues have emerged in recent decades as a major aspect of the discussion of the problems of economic growth and development. Environmental problems associated with industrial activities in the final decades of the last century have heightened public concerns about the non-financial performance of corporations and increased pressure for the disclosure of environmental information. Over the past decades, there have been plethoras of literature on corporate environmental disclosures, including studies majorly from developed countries, while the same is not true of developing countries, particularly Nigeria. Moreso, while there is an extensive research on the role of the Global Reporting Initiative and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines in determining corporate environmental performance indicators and the extent of disclosures in annual report in developed economies, in contrast, there is a dearth of studies conducted in the context of developing economies. To this end, this research investigated the extent and nature of corporate environmental reporting practice among listed firms in Nigeria and South Africa. Also, using the stakeholder theory as motivation for corporate environmental disclosures, the research examined the perception lobby groups on the disclosure of environmental performance information and the corporate relationship with host community. To achieve this, a grand total of 900 copies of questionnaire were distributed among members of the selected state/provinces using the Yaro Yamani sample select





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