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Sustainability reporting by Australian local government authorities

Hossain, M.M. (2018) Sustainability reporting by Australian local government authorities. Local Government Studies, 44 (4). pp. 577-600.

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This qualitative study investigates the Western Australian (WA) local government authorities’ sustainability reporting practices, in the absence of mandatory reporting guidelines, through content analysis of their websites. Calculations from comparing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s disclosures with those of 140 local council websites were used to develop a sustainability reporting disclosure index. The findings indicate that sustainability reporting remains moderately practised by local government authorities, despite stakeholder demand for proactive disclosures. The discourse analysis shows that Western Australia’s strategic planning for sustainable development is the key force propelling councils towards sustainability reporting practices. The findings also suggest that WA local government authorities are increasing sustainability disclosures to legitimate their social and environmental initiatives. The findings have policy implications for regulators and/or government in Western Australia, with practical implications for local council authorities and/or managers in developing awareness of sustainable operations. The study also contributes to local government authorities’ growing awareness of sustainable service operations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright: © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
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