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New feature on Full Disclosure: Key environmental questions responsible shareholders should be asking SA companies

25 May 2017 at 5:15 am

The Centre for Environmental Rights has updated its 2016 report, Full Disclosure: the Truth about Corporate Environmental Compliance in South Africa, to make it even easier for shareholders to identify the most significant environmental risks posed by the companies they are invested in, and to question management about how these risks are being addressed.

The Full Disclosure website now includes a list of key questions about environmental compliance for each of the 30 JSE-listed companies assessed in the report. These questions target serious issues relating to the risks posed to the environment and communities affected by each company’s operations, and will be amended and updated from time to time.

To access the questions, simply click on any company name on the Full Disclosure site and then select the tab labelled “Key questions shareholders should ask” at the top right on each company’s page. See, for example, the questions for Glencore PLC and Exxaro Resources Limited.

The Full Disclosure series of reports provides a baseline assessment of disclosures of environmental violations by 30 listed South African companies with significant environmental impacts. The reports reveal that many companies which have been praised for their approach to managing environmental, social and governance factors have in fact committed serious violations of environmental laws. In many cases, these companies have failed to disclose those violations to their shareholders.

When companies break environmental laws, they expose all stakeholders, including shareholders, to serious risks. Shareholders must challenge companies on their environmental compliance records, and on their failures to disclose relevant information, to avoid the financial and reputational repercussions of ignoring these issues, and to meet their commitments on responsible investment.