Indexed on: 04 Sep '18Published on: 28 Aug '18Published in: Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Ahead of Print. Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate why environmentally-sensitive companies still face criticism despite the extensive disclosures in their annual reports. This paper explores the extent of site-specific social, environmental and ethical (SEE) reporting by mining companies operating in Ghana. Design/methodology/approach The authors conduct an interpretive content analysis of the annual/integrated reports of mining companies for the years 2009–2014 to extract site-specific SEE information relating to the companies’ mining operations in Ghana. The authors also theorise these actions using the existentialist work of Jean-Paul Sartre, in particular his work on “bad faith, nothingness and authenticity”. Findings The findings suggest that SEE information disclosure at site-specific level remains problematic because of bad faith and inauthenticity by mining companies attempting to placate a range of stakeholders. Bad faith represents a form of self-deception or internal denial which manifests in corporate narratives. Inauthenticity is a self-awareness that culminates in the denunciation of corporate identity and the pursuit of external expectations. The effect is the production of inauthentic corporate accounts that is constrained by the assumption made on stakeholder expectation. Originality/value The authors apply a Sartrean lens to explore site-specific SEE. Furthermore, the authors seek to expand the social accounting research domain by drawing on Sartre’s work on “bad faith” and “nothingness”. Sartre’s work to the best of the authors’ knowledge is not explored in social accounting research.