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Sustainability reporting gathers momentum in Australia and New Zealand

The volume and quality of sustainability reporting is on the rise in Australia and New Zealand, according to two reports recently published by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and by the Responsible Investment Association Australia(RIAA).

Both reports show an increasing number of companies referring to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines for guidance, seemingly in response to a greater request for accountable and transparent reporting from investors.

According to the ACSI's Corporate Reporting in Australia research paper, over a six-year period the number of reports under GRIGuidelines by the top 200 companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has doubled; a total of 44 reports were structured to GRI in 2014 alone, compared to 21 in 2009.

The report also indicated that companies reporting in accordance with GRI tended to be the larger companies, with 80% of these in the ASX top 100 listed companies.

According to the RIAA's 2014 Responsible Investment Benchmark Report, for the first time in a decade public investors are increasingly demanding to see their money invested responsibly.

The push towards sustainability reporting has been supported by the Australian government and the ASX. In the third edition of its Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, the ASX Corporate Governance Council added the following recommendation: "A listed entity should disclose whether it has any material exposure to economic, environmental and social sustainability risks and, if it does, how it manages those risks."

GRI head of Australia focal point Victoria Whitaker said: "The increase in reports using GRI Guidelines, plus the growing awareness by investors and market regulators of the need for more transparent reporting, can only point to a healthy future for sustainability reporting in our region."

 

Related links:

Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI)

Responsible Investment Association Australia (RIAA)

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

Related articles:

GRI eyes enhanced role as formal standard setter

 

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