This study aims to report the extent of voluntary carbon emission disclosures by major Australian companies during the years 2006 to 2008. This paper provides contemporary data and explanations about carbon emissions reporting in Australia. Additionally, the paper aims to determine the variables that explain the extent of carbon disclosures.
The carbon disclosure score is measured directly from individual companies' annual reports and sustainability reports. A checklist is established to determine the breadth and depth of the information related to climate change and carbon emissions incorporated in these publicly available reports.
The overall carbon disclosure score has increased significantly over the authors' research period. Furthermore, regression results show that larger firms with higher visibility tend to make more comprehensive carbon disclosures. Overall, the authors' results indicate that the legislation of the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (the NGER Act) in 2007 may have enhanced the voluntary carbon emission disclosures in 2008, even though the NGER Act was not operative until the 2009 financial year. From a theoretical perspective, the findings of the paper are consistent with legitimacy theory.
Previous studies examining environmental disclosures in Australia are based on a time period prior to widespread public discussion and interest in climate change and carbon emissions. By investigating voluntary disclosures made by large Australian companies around the time that the mandatory emission reporting scheme was introduced, this paper investigates whether the prominence of discussion and impending operation of the mandatory environmental disclosures have led to a greater extent of voluntary carbon disclosures. The findings can help regulators draft appropriate legislation that targets industries and specific practices where disclosure is of greatest importance to relevant stakeholders. In addition, an understanding of who and why entities disclose carbon gas emission information can arm green groups and other stakeholders with an appropriate level of understanding about the motivation for such disclosures.
Bae Choi, B., Lee, D. and Psaros, J. (2013), "An analysis of Australian company carbon emission disclosures", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 58-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/01140581311318968Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited