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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

24 March 2006

Sustainability reporting on the rise


More Australian companies are reporting annually on sustainability, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said today.

Releasing a reporting survey of the top 500 Australian companies, The State of Sustainability Reporting in Australia 2005 is the third annual report bringing together information from Australian companies in the Standard & Poor’s/ASX 300 index, the top 100 private companies, and the top 100 unlisted public companies.

Sustainability or non-financial reporting involves companies assessing their performance against environmental, social and economic criteria, how these results relate to the success of the business, and how potential impacts, opportunities and risks are addressed.

The survey found that the rate of reporting is highest in the manufacturing and mining sectors, followed by the wholesale trade, electricity, gas and water supply industries. It also revealed that companies are now producing separate sustainability reports, instead of including them in annual reports or on websites.

“It is encouraging to see that of the 486 companies researched for this project, 119 companies are producing a sustainability report. It is also pleasing to see that of the Standard & Poor’s/ASX 300 index, 52 companies produced a sustainability report – up from 42 in 2004,” Senator Campbell said.

“The companies surveyed said there were several benefits for producing a sustainability report. These may include increased market share, brand dominance, innovation, new business opportunities, enhanced reputation and the ability to attract and retain employees.

“The Australian Government remains committed to pursuing partnerships with industry to make sustainability reporting more meaningful. I have been working closely with the Australian Stock Exchange in recent months to enhance the quality and uptake of sustainability reporting by Australian companies.

“It is through this collaborative approach that the incidence of companies reporting on sustainability issues will one day become more accepted and expected.

“The Australian Government looks forward to an increase in reports in years to come.”

Senator Campbell also acknowledged the assistance of the Centre for Australian Ethical Research (CAER), KPMG and Deni Greene Consulting Services in the production of the research report.

The report and more information can be found at http://www.deh.gov.au/about/whatsnew.html

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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