Sustainability reporting: Insights from the websites of five plants operated by Newmont Mining Corporation
Purpose – Sustainability reporting serves as a means of communication between corporations and their stakeholders on sustainability issues. This study aims to identify and account for the contents of sustainability reporting communicated through the websites of the plants in five continents of the same multinational mining corporation.
Design/methodology/approach – This study uses data published by Newmont Mining Corporation. The corporation has regional headquarters in five continents: Africa, Asia, Australia and North America and South America. The data were drawn from the websites of the five plants adjacent to those regional headquarters. Economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability as reported by each plant were identified; to do so, a disclosure analysis based on the elements of the Global Reporting Initiative and the United Nations Division for Sustainability Development was used. These aspects were then compared and contrasted to highlight if, and to what extent, institutional isomorphism influences variations in sustainability disclosures among plants compared with the parent company.
Findings – It was found that most of the reporting about sustainability matters comprises narratives; there were also a few physical measures but very little financial information. Notwithstanding that the websites of all five plants used similar headings, the contents of reports differed. The reports from the plants in Australia, South America and Africa were more comprehensive than those from the plants in Asia and North America. The authors attribute these differences to institutionalisation of location-specific characteristics, including management discretion, legislation and societal pressures influencing sustainability reporting. The authors argue that managers responsible for preparing sustainability reports and who work essentially as sustainability accountants should develop templates and measures to raise the standard and comprehensiveness of reports for improved communication, information and behaviour.
Originality value – Extant studies on sustainability reporting have focused mainly on comparisons between sustainability reports published by different corporations or sustainability reports published in different years by the same corporation. The authors believe that this is one of the first studies to have examined differences in sustainability information published by different subsidiaries within the same large corporation and the first to show how concurrent disclosures can differ.