Environmental reporting in the Australian mining industry : complying with regulation or meeting international best practice?

Overell, Michael, Chapple, Larelle, & Clarkson, Peter (2008) Environmental reporting in the Australian mining industry : complying with regulation or meeting international best practice? Australian Business Law Review, 36, pp. 137-154.

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It is nearly 10 years since the introduction of s 299(1)(f) Corporations Act , which requires the disclosure of information regarding a company's environmental performance within its annual report. This provision has generated considerable debate in the years since its introduction, fundamentally between proponents of either a voluntary or mandatory environmental reporting framework. This study examines the adequacy of the current regulatory framework. The environmental reporting practices of 24 listed companies in the resources industries are assessed relative to a standard set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. These Guidelines are argued to represent "international best practice" in environmental reporting and a "scorecard" approach is used to score the quality of disclosure according to this voluntary benchmark. Larger companies in the sample tend to report environmental information over and above the level required by legislation. Some, but not all companies present a stand-alone environmental/sustainability report. However, smaller companies provide minimal information in compliance with s 299(1)(f) . The findings indicate that "international best practice" environmental reporting is unlikely to be achieved by Australian companies under the current regulatory framework. In the current regulatory environment that scrutinises s 299(1)(f) , this article provides some preliminary evidence of the quality of disclosures generated in the Australian market.

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ID Code: 50809
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0310-1053
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Deposited On: 07 Jun 2012 22:21
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2012 22:26

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