Inderscience Publishers

Can sustainability reporting be used as a predictor of industrial disasters?

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Sustainability reporting is a newer type of reporting for businesses world-wide. The reporting is a formalised means of assessing the status of economic, social and environmental factors involved in a business entity. Data included within the reports varies because of the lack of a uniform reporting standard. Even with these conditions, sustainability data can be used to predict the risk of industrial accidents and disasters in high-risk businesses. A sample of 30 companies was reviewed in three high-risk industries: transportation, manufacturing and processing, and mining. The specific industries were compared to the GRI Guidelines for accident risk analysis. Companies within these industries provided data dealing with safety practices, maintenance, hazardous waste, and accident-prevention training. Although the quality and quantity of predictive data varies greatly among the sample companies, the data does exist in sustainability reports for accident and disaster prediction beyond information contained in financial statements. Much work, however, needs to be done to improve sufficient published data for continuing predictive comparisons as well as recognising the need for standardised information for accident prediction and prevention.

Keywords: sustainability reporting, risk assessment, risk analysis, industrial accidents, corporations, disasters, high-risk industries, transportation, mining, manufacturing, processing, accident prevention, hazard mitigation, accident prediction, disaster prediction

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