Environmental Reporting as a Communications Tool: A Question of Enforcement?

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Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Law, 2008, 20 (1), pp. 69 - 85
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This article examines the effect of mandatory corporate environmental reporting in the context of corporate accountability. It asks the question whether such reporting can be an effective communications tool, both internally and externally and whether this will lead to a greater awareness of environmental issues throughout an organisation, resulting in improved corporate decisions, practices and outcomes. In order to answer this question, the author draws on longitudinal research examining the performance of the top 100 Australian companies. The article then looks at the role of the regulator, arguing that mandatory environmental reporting should be coupled with guidance and enforcement by a regulating authority. The lack of this enforcement in Australia has resulted in the quality of the reporting being less than optimal. Throughout the article, the author has compared the Australian experience with that of Norway, which has similar mandatory corporate environmental reporting laws.
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