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Driving Public Sector Environmental Reporting


  • Sumit Lodhia
  • Kerry Jacobs
  • Yoon Jin Park


This article analyses environmental reporting practices within public sector entities. It explores the type and extent of environmental disclosures by all 19 Australian Commonwealth Departments in annual reports and sustainability reports, through a legitimacy approach and a content analysis instrument based on the global reporting initiative (GRI). The findings of this research indicate that there is relatively little difference in the reporting practices of departments with legitimacy drivers of size and mission than other departments. We see little evidence of a wide-spread adoption of GRI reporting and argue that drivers internal to government, particularly the coercive influence of legislation and government-regulation, are a better explanation of public sector environment reporting than a legitimacy explanation. We argue that there is some support for a legitimacy argument in that the most significant category of environmental reporting was reporting of departmental initiatives which could be seen as having potential legitimacy motivation and benefits. We conclude with the argument that a more sophisticated approach to legitimacy is required to understand the role of environmental reporting in the public sector context.

Suggested Citation

  • Sumit Lodhia & Kerry Jacobs & Yoon Jin Park, 2012. "Driving Public Sector Environmental Reporting," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 631-647, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pubmgr:v:14:y:2012:i:5:p:631-647
    DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2011.642565

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    Cited by:

    1. Lai Ken Tan & Matthew Egan, 2018. "The Public Accountability Value of a Triple Bottom Line Approach to Performance Reporting in the Water Sector," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 28(2), pages 235-250, June.
    2. Andrés Navarro-Galera & Francisco José Alcaraz-Quiles & David Ortiz-Rodriguez, 2018. "Enhancing Sustainability Transparency in Local Governments—An Empirical Research in Europe," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-22, June.
    3. Jan Alpenberg & Tomasz Wnuk-Pel & Amanda Henebäck, 2018. "Environmental Orientation in Swedish Local Governments," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(2), pages 1-21, February.

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