Success of the sustainability reporting standards and organisational culture: an Australian case study

Venkateshwaran Narayanan, Parmod Chand

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The issue of sustainability is one that is becoming increasingly important for organisations around the world. There are several national and international bodies that promote sustainability reporting and provide guidance through reporting standards concerned with indicators to be reported, reporting processes and/or reporting principles. It is gaining prominence in the agenda of governmental and non-governmental organisations which are increasingly putting pressure on companies to incorporate sustainable practices into their business operations. For example, the European Union commissioned a project which involved academic institutions, businesses, and governmental organisations to develop a conceptual framework for sustainability and sustainable development resulting in the European Corporate Sustainability Framework (ECSF). Similar initiatives have also been undertaken in Australia with the Department of the Environment and Heritage encouraging the use of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development standards. Most of these standards/guidelines to promote sustainability focus on ‘how to report’ rather than ‘what to report’, assisting organisations in setting up systems to collect and report on sustainability issues, however, organisations can use their discretion to decide what gets reported. This study considers the initiatives taken by some of the major bodies that promote sustainability reporting in Australia and critically evaluates these initiatives using a number of Australian businesses as examples. We use the ECSF approach towards organisational dynamics in our analysis. The ECSF framework deals with the issues in implementing sustainability practices in organisations and describes four value levels (order, success, community and synergy) that organisations can choose and work towards. Using specific case studies, this paper uses these value levels to critically evaluate the sustainability report provided by the organisations. We draw conclusions about the applicability of the ECSF value levels to sustainability reporting and suggest possible avenues through which organisations may move to higher value levels.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventInternational Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability (3rd : 2007) - Chennai, India
Duration: 4 Jan 20077 Jan 2007


ConferenceInternational Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability (3rd : 2007)
CityChennai, India


  • European Corporate Sustainability Framework Management control systems Organisational culture Sustainability reporting Value levels
  • sustainability
  • sustainability reporting standards
  • Global Reporting Initiative


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