Sustainability Reporting – by the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), Australia

Source: Austrlian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage, 1 April 2005

This reporting written by the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) is a sound bite of the latest in sustainability reporting. Its focuses purely on non-financial reporting and is intended for anyone interested in keeping up-to-date.
[html]<P align=justify>This reporting written by the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) is a sound bite of the latest in sustainability reporting. Its focuses purely on non-financial reporting and is intended for anyone interested in keeping up-to-date. </P>
<P align=justify><B>Reporting and DEH</B> – DEH has taken a key role in promoting sustainability reporting in Australia through its development of guidelines, support of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), establishment of an online <A href="" target=_blank>Sustainability Reporting Library</A> and dialogue with stakeholders. </P>
<P align=justify>Sustainability reports provide stakeholders with a way to evaluate corporate performance beyond the financial arena. They also benefit the reporter through better understanding of environmental, social and wider economic impacts. DEH sees the number of reporters as a barometer of corporate engagement in sustainable development. </P>
<P align=justify>Our objectives in respect to sustainability reporting are to contribute to the uptake of meaningful, consistent and comparable reporting. It is clearly an emerging but increasingly accepted aspect of company reporting, and its evolution will involve people from all aspects of business, finance, NGO’s, government, academia, and the wider community.</P>
<P align=justify><B>Draft Amendment Bill – Corporations Act 2001</B> – In contrast to the first draft, the <A href="" target=_blank>Corporations Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2005</A> no longer repeals S299(1)(f) – the section that requires company directors to report on compliance with environmental legislation. The draft Bill was released for consultation on 7 February. Stakeholders with an interest in mandatory environmental reporting and the effectiveness of this section can submit comments to Treasury until 1 April 2005. </P>
<P align=justify><B>UK Environment Agency research</B> – <A href="" target=_blank>Environmental Disclosures in FTSE All-Share Annual Report and Accounts</A> For links to other research and reports go to <A href="" target=_blank>What’s New</A> on our website.</P>
<P align=justify><B>Online register grows</B> – With another 42 sustainability reports added this year, the DEH online Sustainability Reporting Library now holds a total of 400 reports from 122 organisations. If your company reports in line with the calendar year it is time to register your latest report with us. To have your organisation’s report included on the library go to: <A href="" target=_blank></A> and choose “register a report”. </P>
<P align=left><B>Survey of sustainability reporting</B> – In 2005 we will once again be contacting Australia’s top 500 companies for our third annual survey of sustainability reporting. The report will be release early in the new financial year. Our 2004 survey showed 116 of the top 500 intended to report that year – an increase of more than 100 per cent on the previous year. Read the 2004 report: <A href="" target=_blank></A> </P>
<P align=justify><BR><B>Guidance on reporting boundaries</B> – The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is set to release its <A href="" target=_blank>Boundary Technical Protocol</A> this month and is looking for people to pilot test it. The protocol provides guidance on the issue of reporting boundaries in relation to an organisations "sustainability footprint".</P>
<P align=justify><B>Australian reporting awards</B> – Judging is underway for the <A href="" target=_blank>Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) Awards for Sustainability Reporting</A>, and the <A href="" target=_blank>Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA)</A>, special award for Environmental Reporting. Last years winners were: </P>
<P>ACCA Best Sustainability Report – City West Water, Sydney Water and Watercare;<BR>ARA Environmental Reporting Award – City West Water</P>
<P>Winners of the ACCA awards will be announced in Sydney on May 4. ARA winners will be announced in Melbourne in June.</P>
<P align=justify><BR>On the international front, Co-operative Financial Services was the number one ranked company in <A href="" target=_blank>The Global Reporters 2004 Survey of Corporate Sustainability Reporting</A>. Two Australian/UK companies rate a mention in the top 50: Rio Tinto – equal 8th, and BHP Billiton – equal 16th. City West Water, Melbourne Water, Sydney Water and Westpac were rated among the top 100 global reports. </P>
<P align=justify><B>DEH and GRI walk the talk – our first reports</B> – DEH released its first Triple Bottom Line report in 2004. <A href="" target=_blank>Our report</A> is based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines and our own <A href="" target=_blank>environmental indicators guide</A>. The GRI has also published its first report in accordance with its own guidelines. The <A href="" target=_blank>GRI database</A> now lists 636 organisations that base their non-financial reporting on the GRI guidelines. </P>
<P align=justify>Carbon Disclosure Project – <A href="" target=_blank>The Carbon Disclosure Project</A> launched its third round on 1 February. This year 143 institutional investors with assets of over $20 trillion under management wrote to the 500 largest quoted companies in the world, asking for disclosure of investment-relevant information concerning greenhouse gas emissions. AMP Capital Investors, BT Financial Group, Catholic Super, National Australian Bank and VicSuper are Australian signatories to the initiative.</P>
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