Researchers have devoted a considerable amount of attention to corporate social and environmental reporting (CSER) over the past 20 years (for a review, see Gray et al. 1995), focusing in particular on the impact of CSER on an organisation's social and environment performance (e.g. Herremans and Akathaporn 1993). The investigation of CSER has recently extended to the links of CSER with corporate social responsibility and accountability. Such links provide researchers the potential to explore the applicability of social auditing concepts to the attainment of an organisation's social objectives and the promotion of accountability and transparency. Social auditing is a (generally voluntary) activity that recognises an obligation incumbent on organisations to give an account of their social performance to their legitimate stakeholders (Zhang et al. 2000). It is regarded as a process that an organisation undertakes when assessing and reporting on its social performance in terms of accountability and stakeholder involvement.