Johannesburg Securities Exchange Considers Mandatory Corporate Reporting of HIV/AIDS Cases Among Workers
The Johannesburg Securities Exchange is considering requiring companies listed on the exchange to include employee HIV/AIDS rates in their financial reports, the Wall Street Journal reports. Russell Loubser, president of the exchange, said that the requirement is currently under discussion. "We are working with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, listed companies and a range of other parties to see if it's possible to have an accounting standard and some sort of reporting requirements specifically related to HIV/AIDS," he said. The JSE ranks as the 14th largest exchange by market capitalization and currently lists 462 companies (Wall Street Journal, 4/2). Approximately 30% of the companies listed on the exchange already report HIV/AIDS statistics. A number of banks, including Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, have said that HIV/AIDS statistics will have to be included in financial forecasting, stock selection, asset allocation and risk underwriting (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/25). Many people have been calling for the requirement under the rationale that a company's financial health is tied into the health of its workers (Wall Street Journal, 4/2). Labor-intensive industries, such as mining, have been particularly hard hit by HIV/AIDS, and service industries such as banking and food products may have to project slower growth in coming years due to a declining consumer base (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/25). The JSE last year conducted voluntary and anonymous staff testing. Of 320 workers, 210 employees took the test, and four people were found to be HIV-positive. "We wanted to go through the same sort of process that other organizations will have to experience down the line," Loubser said (Wall Street Journal, 4/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.