Sustainability Reporting in Australia

Want to communicate your company’s progress and efforts towards a better and more sustainable future?

Well, a sustainability report could be the way to do it.

Sustainability reports in Australia are simply about sharing information on your company’s efforts to balance economic growth with protecting the environment and your social responsibility. 

It’s a way for your business to show its stakeholders, your commitment to a sustainable global economy and to share insights into the future impact you have on the world. 

Sounds valuable, doesn’t it?

Your investors, customers, and employees can also use it as a report card on your company’s social and environmental performance. 

As the trend towards corporate citizenship continues, companies and investors recognise the importance of understanding and addressing renewable and social issues.

This is great news but how and where do you start with sustainability reporting?



What is Sustainability Reporting?

Sustainability reporting is the practice of disclosing information about a company’s social, environmental, and economic impacts and performance to its stakeholders. 

This type of reporting framework aims to communicate your company’s transparency and accountability around its efforts to address sustainability challenges and contribute to sustainable development. 

So, what does this report cover?

It goes beyond CSR reporting and includes a range of topics such as your company’s greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation, water usage, human rights practices, and community engagement. 


Sustainability reports in Australia

Where is Australia up to with sustainability reporting?

In a country known for its rich natural resources, companies operating in Australia are facing increased pressure to balance economic growth with social and conservational protection and responsibility. 

In response, many Australian companies have embraced sustainability reporting to communicate to their stakeholders their voluntary initiatives and company performance to create a more sustainable future.

While this reporting is not currently mandatory in Australia, it has come a long way in recent years, with more and more companies recognising the benefits of transparency and accountability. 


What are the benefits of Sustainability Reporting?

Is this just another report for your company to produce?

Sustainability performance reports provide many benefits to your company, including:

Improved reputation and brand image: If your company is more transparent about their sustainability practices, it may be viewed more favourably by stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees.

Better decision-making: Reporting how your company performs on sustainability can help your company identify areas where you can improve your environmental and social impact, leading to more informed decision-making.

Increased accountability: It can help your company to be held more accountable for its impact on the environment and society.

Improved risk management: By understanding your sustainability risks, your company can better prepare for and respond to potential conservation and social challenges.

Enhanced stakeholder engagement: It provides a platform for your company to engage with stakeholders and solicit feedback on your sustainability practices. It can also help with improving employee retention.

Access to capital: Investors are increasingly considering sustainability factors to reduce their risks when making investment decisions, and reporting can help your company access capital from environmentally and socially conscious investors.


What are the Sustainability Reporting Frameworks

While there are no mandatory standards in Australia, there are several international frameworks that Australian companies can use to report on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. 

Some of the more well-known frameworks include:

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI): 

The GRI standards are a widely used framework that provides guidelines for companies to report on their ESG performance.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB): 

The SASB provides industry-specific standards for reporting, helping companies to focus their reporting on the ESG issues that are most material to their business.

Integrated Reporting (IR): 

IR is a framework that encourages companies to integrate financial and non-financial information in their reports to provide a more complete picture of their performance.

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD):

The TCFD provides a set of recommendations for companies to disclose information on their exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP): 

The CDP is a non-profit organisation that collects and reports on environmental data from companies worldwide. Companies can use the CDP framework to report on their greenhouse gas emissions and other impacts.

As an Australian company, you can choose to use the GRI Standards, or a combination of frameworks to report on your ESG performance.


Examples of Sustainability Reports

Even though it is still early days when it comes to sustainability reporting, there are many examples of sustainability reports from companies in Australia. 

Some well-known Australian examples of sustainability reporting include:

BHP: BHP’s sustainability report provides non-financial reporting and information on their efforts to create a sustainable future, including their work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water stewardship, and promoting social impacts and responsibility.

Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto’s sustainability report provides information on their efforts to create a sustainable future, including their work on responsible mining, reducing their impact, and promoting sustainable communities.

Woodside: Woodside’s sustainability report provides information on their efforts to create a sustainable future, including their work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable communities.

Wesfarmers: Wesfarmers’ sustainability report provides information on their efforts to create a sustainable future, including their work on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable communities.

We recommend you check out these reports. They are excellent resources for learning about best practices in sustainability reporting in Australia.


What’s the Sleek Scoop on sustainability reports?

The key takeaway about sustainability reporting is that it can be the main tool for your company to communicate to stakeholders how you will create a more sustainable future, as a way to promote transparency and accountability as a business.

Got more questions about sustainability reporting in Australia? That’s great, we can help. Call our accounting team today on +61 4 9100 0480 today or start a conversation in our chat box below!

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