The development of best practice recommendations by the Corporate Governance Council (CGC) of the Australian Stock Exchange in 2003 clearly linked corporate regulators' concerns about good governance to the concept of corporate social and environmental responsibility. The CGC recommended that one way to demonstrate good governance was to use the annual report to disclose information to all legitimate stakeholders. This paper reports on the quantity and categories of environmental information disclosed in the corporate annual reports of 41 Australian companies across eight industry groups covering the period 19832003. This time period has seen the importance of good corporate governance practice in relation to environmental protection escalate, as demonstrated by the introduction of separate environmental and sustainability reports, the advent of triple bottom line reporting, changes in environmental legislation and the occurrence of major environmental incidents. The results of this study indicate that an increasing number of companies are disclosing environmental information, and the relative volume of such information in annual reports is increasing across all categories.
annual reports, environmental reporting, stakeholder, governance, legitimacy, political economy