Annual Reports provides an overview of the portfolio/entity including:Corporate governanceHuman resource managementLearning and developmentPurchasing and asset managementExternal scrutiny‘Financial Statements’ covers the key components of economic information.Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S Act)Disability strategy and social inclusion (Commonwealth Disability Strategy and Social Inclusion Agenda)Freedom of Information (FOI Act)Advertising and market research (Commonwealth Electoral Act)Environmental performance (EPBC Act)Consultancies (Procurement Guidelines)Corrections to the prior year/s Annual ReportStaffing overview and statisticsAgencies provide extensive HR and employee profile data to the Aust Public Service Commission for the State of the Service ReportAgencies provide energy and greenhouse gas data for the Energy Efficiency in Government Operations report.Other reporting requirements including the National Pollutant Inventory and the Australian Government Property Data Collection to name a couple.Many of the reporting requirements align directly with, or closely with GRI Profile requirements and individual indicators. As an example, energy consumption reporting for the Energy Efficiency report align directly with Environmental indicators. Much of the staffing data provided in annual reports align directly with Labour indicators. I would argue that Aust Govt OH&S reporting exceeds the requirements of the GRI. Finally, Sections of Annual Reports’ management and Accountability align directly with GRI profile requirements.
What is the definition of sustainability reporting ? There are some agreed definitions (e.g. In the GRI) but these are still debated. Preliminary view – in practice close to “triple-bottom-line” concept. Purpose – surprisingly, much of the material does not articulate a purpose for this reporting. In our preliminary view it must result in action to have a meaningful purpose Internal vs External Focus – do you just focus on the activities of the agency e.g. Tonnes of CO2 emitted by the agency; human rights aspects of staffing policies; or do you focus on the external impact of the agency – how do its policies result in more sustainable activity ? Preliminary view – practically it has to be the former (Note the GRI encourages the latter) Entities covered – as with any policy, who do we apply it to ? Big and little? FMA and CAC ? Preliminary view – no view formedConsolidation or not – do we produce a consolidated report ? Prelim view – this would have to be a long term objective if we were going to do it. No one else does it and there are many issues of data consistency etcGeography – annual report is easier and cheaper but potentially less comprehensive. Prelim view – annual report, to streamline reporting, keep it cheaper and easier and this is the overall trendWhich set of standards – GRI or something else. Prelim view – based on GRI but may not be pure GRI or the full GRICommon indicators – some advantages in benchmarking and comparability but less likely to accommodate individual agency circumstances. Obviously necessary for a meaningful consolidated report. Prelim view – none yetAssurance – does the information receive assurance to “verify” it ? Some very obvious advantages but it does come at some cost. Prelim view – probably not initially The rest is implementation
1 Mandatory & Voluntary Reporting – emerging trends and managing both Chair: Wayne Wescott, Member, GRI Australian Advisory Group Peter McVay, Audit Manager, Performance Audit, Australian Audit Office Kate Phillips, Senior Associate, Baker & McKenzie Tim Youngberry, First Assistant Secretary, Financial Reporting and Cash Management, Department of Finance and Deregulation
2 Sustainability Reporting Tim Youngberry First Assistant Secretary Financial Reporting and Cash Management Department of Finance and Deregulation
3 Current Project • To examine feasibility of Sustainability Reporting • Complete the assessment by mid 2012 • Coordinated by Finance, input by reference group • Will involve pilots and relevant consultation • Phases of the project
Key Considerations Must work within current Australian Government guidelines and legislative requirements Should not create additional reporting burden Where possible, use existing reporting bases, indices, metrics and standards. Independently set standards important but reporting needs to be appropriate and relevant
Australian Government reporting requirements encompass aspects of sustainability reporting.• Annual Report Guidelines• Legislative and regulatory reporting requirements• State of the Service Report• Energy Efficiency in Government Operations
Issues In Design of a Sustainability6 Reporting System • Definition & Scope & purpose • Internal vs External Focus • Entities Covered • Consolidation or not • Geography – Annual Report or Other • Which set of standards are applied • Common indicators across all agencies or not • Assurance • Transition & Implementation Issues, Assistance, Support