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Characteristics of corporate social responsibility assurance practices

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dc.contributor.advisor Van Heerden, Bernard, 1951-
dc.contributor.advisor Eccles, Neil Ackers, Barry 2015-08-25T12:36:32Z 2015-08-25T12:36:32Z 2014-06
dc.identifier.citation Ackers, Barry (2014) Characteristics of corporate social responsibility assurance practices, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract As stakeholders start holding companies accountable for the non-financial impacts of their operations, it is increasingly recognised that the parties to whom companies are accountable extends beyond shareholders to include other stakeholders as well. Around the world, companies are responding to stakeholder demands by voluntarily reporting on their corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. Unscrupulous companies may however, be tempted to use green-wash to make false claims relating to their CSR performance in order to reap the associated benefits. This information risk may be ameliorated through the independent assurance of CSR disclosures, enhancing the confidence of stakeholders in its veracity. Reporting companies usually voluntarily obtain independent assurance on their CSR performance. However, in South Africa, independent CSR assurance is a regulatory requirement for all JSE-listed companies, albeit on an ‘apply or explain’ basis. This thesis, which utilises a mixed methods research approach incorporating both qualitative and quantitative components, seeks to identify and understand the characteristics of the emerging independent CSR assurance phenomenon. In this regard, the empirical component of the study was conducted in three phases: in the first phase companies’ CSR disclosures and assurance reports are examined; in the second phase survey responses from companies are reviewed; and in the third phase interviews with CSR assurors are analysed. In this thesis, the extent to which companies provide independent assurance on their CSR disclosures is established; the providers of independent CSR assurance are identified; the reasons that companies select certain CSR assurance providers are explored; the reasons that companies provide independent assurance on their CSR disclosures are determined; the CSR assurance practices of the various CSR assurors are reviewed and compared; and the primary standards and/or frameworks used in CSR assurance engagements are identified. A conclusion is reached that although independent CSR assurance is a de facto mandatory requirement for JSE-listed companies, only 26% of the companies had their CSR disclosures independently assured. Despite its de facto mandatory nature, the study found that South African CSR assurance practices remain largely unregulated, resulting in a diversity of CSR assurors; utilising various assurance approaches, standards and practices. In this thesis, it is argued that these inconsistencies undermine the purpose of CSR assurance and reduce stakeholder confidence. It is accordingly proposed that the identified deficiencies could be addressed through the regulation of CSR reporting and assurance. An oversight/regulatory body should be established to prescribe the competencies that CSR assurors should possess; to develop appropriate CSR assurance engagement standards; and to clearly articulate the scope that CSR assurance engagements should cover; with which all CSR assurors should comply. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Assurance levels en
dc.subject Assurance policies en
dc.subject Assurance practices en
dc.subject Assurance providers en
dc.subject Assurance standards en
dc.subject Assuror competencies en
dc.subject Assuror independence en
dc.subject Corporate social responsibility (CSR) en
dc.subject JSE en
dc.subject King III en
dc.subject Mandatory en
dc.subject South Africa en
dc.subject.ddc 658.40130968
dc.subject.lcsh Social responsibility of business -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Corporate governance -- South Africa -- Auditing en
dc.subject.lcsh Corporation reports -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Corporations -- South Africa -- Auditing en
dc.subject.lcsh Auditing, Internal -- South Africa en
dc.title Characteristics of corporate social responsibility assurance practices en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Auditing en D. Com. (Auditing)

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