Climate change disclosures by public sector organisations

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Barry Ackers Adeyemi Adebayo


Global warming and increasingly volatile weather patterns, arguably caused by anthropogenic climate change, is one of the defining challenges facing the world today. It is therefore imperative that organisations proactively respond by not only disclosing the impact of climate change on their operations, but also by describing their initiatives to combat climate change. Against this backdrop, and since public sector organisations utilise public funds, we argue that public sector organisations should not only account to the public about their stewardship of public resources, but are also obliged to explain how they are safeguarding the public by acknowledging and combatting climate change. Our study therefore explores the disclosure of climate related activities from a purposively selected sample of government departments and organisations in South Africa, a country that has been lauded for the quality of corporate governance processes. We developed a climate change disclosure quality (CCDQ) index to assess the climate change disclosures of these public sector organisations. The CCDQ index applied to the most recent publicly available annual/integrated reports of the selected public sector organisations, took six key disclosure elements into account. While our results reveal that the majority of public sector organisations disclose climate related issues, not all do. Moreover, the extent and scope of these disclosures vary significantly. We accordingly recommend that a framework, utilising the disclosure elements described in this paper, be developed which could be applicable to both private and public sector organisations.

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ACKERS, Barry; ADEBAYO, Adeyemi. Climate change disclosures by public sector organisations. Economics, Management and Sustainability, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 1, p. 17-33, may 2022. ISSN 2520-6303. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 june 2022. doi:


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