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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
6 June 2003
The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today unveiled a new publication to help more Australian companies reap the rewards from corporate environmental reporting.
Speaking at the Fourth Annual Global Conference on Environmental Taxation Issues in Sydney today, Dr Kemp said leading organisations, both internationally and in Australia, were increasingly recognising the benefits associated with environmental measuring and reporting.
"The role of corporate environmental reporting is to communicate to the market and broader community that appropriate measurement and management systems are in place to address environmental issues and risks associated with their activities," Dr Kemp told the conference.
"Companies who publish environmental or triple bottom line reports say that, in addition to managing risk, they are also gaining from enhanced reputation a greater ability to attract and retain high quality staff and a competitive advantage with both customers and suppliers, which all add to their financial bottom line."
Dr Kemp told the conference - the first international environmental taxation conference to be held outside of North America - the Howard Government had been at the forefront of promoting improved corporate environmental reporting practices in Australia. This includes a wide range of initiatives, including providing financial support for the internationally recognised Global Reporting Initiative `Sustainability Reporting Guidelines'.
The Howard Government also commissioned the recent Centre for Australian Ethical Research (CAER) report which showed only 57 or 11% of the top 500 companies operating in Australia produce an environmental report. This is compared to an average of 23% of the top 100 companies in 19 other countries and 45% of the Global Fortune Top 250 companies. Westpac, WMC Resources, BHP Billiton and Telstra are amongst the major companies who are reporting.
"Whilst this compares to just one company reporting 10 years ago, these numbers show that whilst we are making progress, it is not as fast as many of us would like," Dr Kemp said.
"With the release of this new publication - Triple Bottom Line Reporting in Australia: A Guide to Reporting Against Environmental Indicators - it is hoped more Australian companies will take up the challenge of reporting on their environmental performance.
"It is a guide which sets the appropriate Australian context for reporting and presents the information in an easy-to-read format for those thinking about reporting for the first time. I hope this is what the non-reporting companies have been waiting for to get them across the line," Dr Kemp said.
The Fourth Annual Global Conference on Environmental Taxation Issues is a three-day forum to promote the exchange of ideas, information and research findings on environmental taxation. It is hosted by Macquarie University's Division of Law and runs until this Saturday (7 June).
The Triple Bottom Line Reporting in Australia: A Guide to Reporting Against Environmental Indicators can be found on the website at www.ea.gov.au/industry/finance/publications/indicators.