Standardise Sustainability Reporting for Australian Governments - GRI
23 October 2012 at 9:46 am
Australian Governments at all levels should adopt a standardised sustainability reporting framework via agreement through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), according to the local arm of the The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Focal Point Australia wants Local, State and Federal Governments to set policies on consistent sustainability reporting to reduce the overlap of current reporting requirements which, GRI says, will lead to greater transparency and accountability.
“It’s amazing that government departments and agencies are potentially producing six different reports, which could largely address the same information produced through one Sustainability Report,” the Head of GRI’s Focal Point Australia, Victoria Whitaker said.
Whitaker says there should be pressure placed on COAG to adopt a common sustainability reporting framework for the public sector in Australia.
“Sustainability reporting can add value and quality to management information, ensuring that vital performance information is disclosed – and integrated into core strategy and practices,” Whitaker said.
“Integrating this information into one report, such as through the annual report, will provide department heads and Ministers with a much clearer picture of the impacts that public organisations are having on society, the environment and the economy.”
GRI wants to see Governments lead by example and report with GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework and follow a minimum set of sustainability disclosures, based on GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework.
At present the Australian departments and agencies already reporting on their sustainability performance using GRI’s Guidelines including: Landcom, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), Queensland Urban Utilities, Mainroads Western Australia, Melbourne City Council and the ABC.
“What is clear is that there are more similarities than dissimilarities between current public sector reporting requirements and the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework,” Whitaker said.
“This research highlights that public sector agencies are in an excellent position to avoid unnecessary duplication across reporting requirements and transition to GRI sustainability reporting: for transparency, accountability, and a brighter national and global future.”