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Do Australian companies report environmental news objectively? An analysis of environmental disclosures by firms prosecuted successfully by the Environmental Protection Authority

Do Australian companies report environmental news objectively? An analysis of environmental... Within Australia there is ageneral absence of professional or legislative rules requiring companies to provide information relating to their environmental performance or any environmental initiatives undertaken. Previous research studies have shown that many firms present environmental information, but only tend to present information which is favourable to their corporate image. Investigates the environmental reporting practices of a sample of 20 Australian companies which were subject to successful prosecution by the New South Wales, and Victorian Environmental Protection Authorities, during the period 1990‐1993. Indicates a significant increase in the reporting of favourable environmental information surrounding environmental prosecution. Further, the amount of positive environmental information significantly outweighed the negative environmental information presented, which was interesting given that it is clear that the firms studied did have bad news to report. The existence of a proven environmental offence was reported by only two of the companies within the sample. Raises issues as to whether information about a proven environmental offence is “material” to account users and, if so, whether financial statements could be construed as being misleading in the absence of such information. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal Emerald Publishing

Do Australian companies report environmental news objectively? An analysis of environmental disclosures by firms prosecuted successfully by the Environmental Protection Authority

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References (42)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 1996 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0951-3574
DOI
10.1108/09513579610116358
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Within Australia there is ageneral absence of professional or legislative rules requiring companies to provide information relating to their environmental performance or any environmental initiatives undertaken. Previous research studies have shown that many firms present environmental information, but only tend to present information which is favourable to their corporate image. Investigates the environmental reporting practices of a sample of 20 Australian companies which were subject to successful prosecution by the New South Wales, and Victorian Environmental Protection Authorities, during the period 1990‐1993. Indicates a significant increase in the reporting of favourable environmental information surrounding environmental prosecution. Further, the amount of positive environmental information significantly outweighed the negative environmental information presented, which was interesting given that it is clear that the firms studied did have bad news to report. The existence of a proven environmental offence was reported by only two of the companies within the sample. Raises issues as to whether information about a proven environmental offence is “material” to account users and, if so, whether financial statements could be construed as being misleading in the absence of such information.

Journal

Accounting Auditing & Accountability JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: May 1, 1996

Keywords: Company reports; Corporate image; Environment; Green issues

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