The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
14 July 2004
The number of Australian companies that report annually on sustainability has doubled, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, announced today in releasing a report on the top 500 Australian companies.
"The Australian Government's State of Sustainability Reporting in Australia 2004 surveyed companies in the ASX top 300, the top 100 private companies and the top 100 unlisted public companies. It shows the rate of sustainability reporting by Australian companies has doubled from 57 companies publishing public environmental reports in 2001-02, to 116 publishing sustainability reports in 2002-2003," Dr Kemp said. The environmental component of a sustainability report is considered equivalent to an environmental report.
The rate of reporting has increased in the finance and insurance sectors; the electricity, gas and water sectors; the property services sector and the wholesale trade sector.
"This is great news for the community and investors who can use these reports to gauge a company's performance against environmental indicators such as water efficiency, greenhouse emissions, and significant emissions to air and water."
Sustainability reporting, or triple bottom line reporting, is the annual reporting of a company's performance against environmental, social and economic criteria. It can provide strong insights into a company's medium term risk management and financial performance.
Increasingly, companies are realising that share prices and investor confidence are significantly influenced by medium term factors. How are companies managing increased environmental risks? How do companies' workplace practices contribute to staff commitment and loyalty? A company's sustainability report helps to answer these questions.
"Managing sustainability is simply part of good management, and internationally there appears to be a strong correlation between business success and improved reporting practices.
"I'm also pleased to see the quality of reporting is increasing with a growing use of international guidelines and increased emphasis on independent verification," said Dr Kemp. "However we're still lagging behind international trends so work still needs to be done by the Australian corporate sector to remain competitive internationally."
The State of Sustainability Reporting in Australia 2004 forms part of the Australian Government's Australian Sustainability Reporting Library, a one-stop shop for analysts and other researchers looking for sustainability reports produced by Australian companies. It is the most comprehensive and up-to-date electronic resource of Australian non-financial reporting and is available at www.deh.gov.au/industry/corporate/reporting/news.html.