In the field of environmental, social and governance reporting in South Africa, the annual publication of the prestigious IRAS Sustainability Data Transparency Index (SDTI) is much anticipated.  SDTI refers to the internally developed list of quantitative data points that stakeholders should reasonably expect Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies to provide performance data for.  The Index report examines such categories as Standard Disclosures, Labour, Economic, CSI/SED Expenditures, Environmental, Health and Safety, and Governance, and assesses key strengths and weaknesses in each area of reporting.

This year’s 2014 IRAS Sustainability Data Transparency Index (SDTI) report has just been published and Wesizwe Platinum has made a huge leap into the top 12 list of the mining companies assessed, for the quality of its integrated sustainability reporting, out of a total number of 45. The overall SDTI ranking for companies assessed in the metals and mining sector was 48.93%.  Wesizwe Platinum scored 66.2% for its assessment.  It places Wesizwe 27th overall in the 300+ list of companies assessed throughout the country and across all sectors in this year’s Index, a great improvement from position 82 in the last financial year assessment.  This is a great achievement for a young junior mining company in the process of developing its flagship project, the Bakubung Platinum Mine, in the North West Province.

Commenting on Wesizwe Platinum’s ranking in this year’s IRAS SDTI 2014, Mr Hamlet Morule, Executive: Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations, said:  “This is a remarkable achievement for Wesizwe Platinum in terms of its integrated reporting process.  As a new junior mining company in South Africa, we strive to implement best practice approaches in all aspects of our work.  This prestigious ranking demonstrates the commitment across the company to striving for the highest levels of transparency and professionalism in our reporting”.

IRAS maintains a database of South African reports and reviews 311 companies as part of its research work for the preparation of the annual IRAS Sustainability Data Transparency Index.  It has a search engine that allows users to look for reports based on company name, industry sector, GRI compliance level, and assurance providers.  The website also includes a searchable database of assurance statements, helping researchers, reporters and aspiring assurance providers learn what typical ISAE 3000 and AA1000AS assurance statements should include.  Over the past six years, IRAS has researched the effectiveness of corporate sustainability reporting in South Africa, providing an invaluable guidebook for effective reporting.

The King III Code of Corporate Governance and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) have established a heads-up for companies attempting to identify the future of their business in the context of an ever-changing social, economic and environmental landscape. Among many other governance recommendations, King III encourages companies to produce meaningful integrated annual reports using the guidance set out by the GRI Guidelines, while the IIRC recommends a total of 15 different reporting principles. In doing so, new benchmarks for transparency have been set that exceed what stakeholders have come to expect.

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