Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The Author explores the implications of the AIDS epidemic for South African businesses. She discusses the financial impact of the disease on shareholder investments and what measures can, and should, be taken by South African businesses to assess the extent of the financial damage and to help prevent and treat infected individuals. The Author focuses on a new listing requirement recently passed by the Johannesburg Securities Exchange in South Africa that requires companies to implement corporate governance and responsible HIV/AIDS policies as a prerequisite for listing on the Exchange. In addition, she discusses a new "Socially Responsible Investment" index that the Exchange has launched in an effort to enhance corporate social accountability with regard to the disease.

The Author further analyzes the discourse surrounding social disclosure regulations in the United States and the potential impact the proposed regulation may have on this discussion. She addresses the current "materiality" standard imposed by the SEC and discusses how the new AIDS regulation crosses the lines of both financial and social materiality. Finally, the Author argues that the SEC can require companies to engage in social disclosure on matters that would be considered material to both fiscally and socially responsible investors. In particular, AIDS reporting is a matter of the utmost concern for the investor in international corporations and meets the SEC's "materiality" standard. The Author concludes that the SEC should require international corporations in countries with high AIDS infection rates to disclose their AIDS policies.