An investigation of the economic performance of sustainability reporting companies versus non-reporting companies: a South African perspective

01 November 2012

This study explores the potential differences in the economic performances of companies that report on their sustainability information and those companies that do not report thereon. Even though there have been similar studies conducted in 1st world countries, this is the first study of its kind in a developing economy, and considers the economic performances of South African publicly listed companies. Annual performance data, from 2002 to 2009, for the two groups of companies was taken from the McGregor BFA database. The significance of the average differences between key financial indicators of the test-group and the control-group was determined by the t-test, while the difference of positive or negative Economic Value Added and Market Value Added values between these two groups was also evaluated. Even though some evidence indicates that companies that disclose sustainability reports may experience better economical performance, the statistical analysis could not confirm a definite positive relationship between sustainability reporting and economic performance.