Academic journal article The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends

Incorporating Indigenous Values in Corporate Social Responsibility Reports

Academic journal article The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends

Incorporating Indigenous Values in Corporate Social Responsibility Reports

Article excerpt

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to show how a major state-owned enterprise in New Zealand uses its annual report to promote the image of an organisation concerned with the local community including Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, Maori values and their relationship with the environment.

Design/methodology/approach - This longitudinal single case study of Mighty River Power Limited spans the period 2000 to 2009. It involves detailed examination of the narrative disclosures contained in the annual reports, including photographs, over the period of the study to determine whether Mighty River Power used the annual report to present a favourable image to the organisation's stakeholders. Indigenous partnerships between the organisation and Maori trusts were also investigated to determine how these contributed to the corporate identity promoted in the annual reports.

Findings - The analysis found that annual report was used to promote the image of an organisation upholding the Maori value of kaitiakitanga as part of its social responsibility to the local community and environment. Maori partnerships and community environmental group sponsorship were featured extensively in the images and narratives, with specific reference to indigenous values.

Originality/value - This paper builds upon previous literature in the field of corporate social responsibility in annual reports and extends it to the state-owned enterprise sector in New Zealand, focusing specifically on the relationship between the entity and the indigenous community in which it operates.

Key words: Corporate social responsibility; Public sector; Financial reporting; New Zealand; Indigenous values; Annual reports; Kaitiakitanga

JEL Classifications: M14; M40; M41

PsycINFO Classifications: 3000

Introduction

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting is becoming increasingly important. It is used by organisations to demonstrate they are discharging their social responsibilities to various stakeholders (Sweeney & Coughlan, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Mighty River Power Limited a state-owned enterprise (SOE) involved in electricity generation and distribution in the central North Island of New Zealand, uses its annual report to promote the Maori value of kaitiakitanga (guardianship). According to the State-Owned Enterprise Act 1986, a SOE is required to 'exhibit a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so' (State-Owned Enterprise Act, 1986, s4 (1)(c)). The study takes the form of a longitudinal case study of Mighty River Power's annual reports from its inception in 2000 to 2009. An analysis of the discretionary narratives and images presented in the annual reports were used to determine whether Mighty River Power exhibited a sense of social responsibility and kaitiakitanga.

Mighty River Power is required to obtain resource consent under the Resource Management Act 1991 in order to generate electricity from natural resources. As part of the resource consent process affected stakeholders are able to communicate objections against Mighty River Power's planned activities that impact the natural environment. Opposition will be lessened if the community has a good impression of the organisation and believes it will act as kaitiaki or guardian over the resources it is using (Hooghiemstra, 2000). CSR requires the organisation to be accountable to its stakeholders, including the local community and the environment in its day-to-day operations. By integrating indigenous Maori values related to kaitiakitanga in its modus operandi, Mighty River Power is seeking to demonstrate its ability to be a good corporate citizen to stakeholders and the wider community.

The paper adds to the considerable volume of research on various aspects of CSR reporting (Carroll, 1999; Coupland, 2005; Driver, 2006; Gray, Kouhy, & Lavers, 1995; Sweeney & Coughlan, 2008) and environmental reporting (Deegan & Gordon, 1996; Hackston & Milne, 1996; Jenkins & Yakovleva, 2006; Neu, Warsame, & Pedwell, 1998). …

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