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Top 10 South African companies' disclosure of materiality determination process and material issues in integrated reports
journal contributionposted on 23.01.2019, 00:00 by Natasja SteenkampNatasja Steenkamp
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop guidelines of what award winning companies, leading practice in integrated reporting (IR) disclose in their integrated reports about material issues and their materiality determination processes. Also, to provide insight into what they disclose about their perception of materiality. Design/methodology/approach – A content analysis was conducted to investigate what the top 10 South African companies of the 2015 Ernst and Young Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards disclosed in their 2014 and 2015 integrated reports about their materiality determination processes, material issues and what materiality means to them. Thematic analyses were conducted in developing guidelines. Findings – All except one company applied the International Integrated Reporting Framework. The materiality determination processes, material issues and companies’ descriptions of materiality are diverse. Material issues most companies identified relate to employees, social and environmental issues, customers and sustainable performance. Practical implications – The proposed guidelines will provide useful strategies for organisations who embark on the IR journey about what issues could be considered as material and therefore included in integrated reports. It also proposes activities companies can undertake to identify, evaluate and prioritise material issues and execute their materiality determination process. Originality/value – This paper is the first to develop guidelines of material matters and materiality determination processes. It also adds to existing literature on IR practice and the application of materiality.