Disclosure Practices of Environmental Costs: Evidence from Oil and Gas Companies Operating In Tanzania
Keywords:Environmental costs, Environmental costs classification, Legitimacy Disclosure Theory, Social Contract Theory, Content analysis
This article discusses disclosure practices of environmental costs in the oil and gas companies operating in Tanzania so as to determine whether the disclosure reflects what companies are actually doing or claim to have been doing about disclosure of environmental costs. Further, the article identifies the types of environmental costs which are mostly disclosed by the oil and gas companies. Content analysis method was used to obtain data from the annual reports for the year ended 2013. The results revealed that companies use mostly a narrative rather than a numerical approach in disclosing information on environmental costs. Also, the study found out that companies disclose more information on environmental defensive costs than on environmental aggressive costs. Moreover, companies disclose environmental costs without specific classification. Consistent with earlier findings, this research affirms that classifying environmental costs into appropriate cost centres enables investors, shareholders, society and other stakeholders to understand how the companies respond to their environmental responsibilities. This study recommends that oil and gas companies should focus more on environmentally preventive measures rather than reactive measures to avoid damage to the environment and curative related costs. Further research might want to involve a bigger sample and a longer period, e.g. five years from 2013, to get a broader picture of disclosure of environmental costs.