This capstone introduces you to researching and interpreting the voluntary disclosures o…

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This capstone introduces you to researching and interpreting the voluntary disclosures of a publicly listed company to determine its governance and ethical outlook. The knowledge you have gained from modules 6–9 are of high importance to this exercise. These skills are highly valued by business specialists such as: Corporate governance practitioners and consultants Business and investment analysts Auditors Corporate accountants and Investment funds looking for companies to invest in. Remember that it is a company’s stakeholders who determine what is acceptable and not acceptable for that company to do. Therefore, to determine where a company is looking to for its guidance (for example, shareholders, powerful stakeholders, all stakeholders) is an important step in identifying a company’slikelyethical outlook. A bank that is focused upon its most powerful shareholders will talk to them directly in their voluntary disclosures, and this will manifest itself in how the company conducts itself in society. In contrast, a company that is vitally concerned about how society views its actions relating to the environment will disclose information suitable to that audience, and will probably conduct its affairs in a complementary manner.
Investors seeking to invest in companies committed to sustainable operations may choose the latter company over the former (however, there are many other considerations such as the company’sreturn on investmentrecord that cannot be ignored), while an investment fund that needs to grow its own return on investor funds might choose the former to invest in.
This capstone project isnotabout making judgments concerning the likely ethics of a company; we simply do not have enough information on hand to make such a judgment. And remember that a company wholly focused on profits and returns to shareholders can be just a ethical (in the eyes of its stakeholders) as one who takes an interest in its environmental “footprint”. What is of interest to us is that each company is different and

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