Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics
This study examines emission and energy disclosures of 400 randomly selected Australian listed companies in 2005, 2007 and 2009 using a disclosure index derived from the Global Reporting Initiative. The longitudinal nature of this study provides a more comprehensive view of the online emissions and energy disclosures of Australian companies and highlights the impact of the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the introduction of carbon regulations, National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) and Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO).The results were compared between the two periods, it was noted that rate of increase was lower during the latter (2007 to 2009) period. Overall the obtained results suggest that the implemented regulation and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol did not act as a catalyst to increase carbon disclosures, as the emissions and energy disclosures were not accelerating in the compliance period towards the eventual implementation of CPRS and/or a carbon tax regime. By the State implementing these carbon regulations, Australia was highlighting their commitment to the climate change debate and appeared to be aligning the values of country as a whole to other countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. However, these initial ‘regulatory’ steps to consolidated climate change policy suggest that the State could be ‘suppressing’ more significant development of more radical forms of climate change policy as these may have an even greater impact on Capitalism. Additionally, the results obtained in this study reinforces Gray et al (1995, p. 67) summation that it was difficult to use a single theoretical perspective to explain corporate disclosures especially for longitudinal studies and the use of “different levels of resolution could offer other observations”(Gray, Kouhy, & Lavers, 1995a).