Sustainable Business Reporting in New Zealand

By Martin Kelly, Alison McCourt, Dani Foo and Jagdeepkaur Singh-Ladhar.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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The number of sustainable business reports has grown over recent years, but the quality of the reports is often poor. This paper examines what should appear in a good basic sustainability report. This is much less than what has been suggested by GRI, A4S, and similar bodies providing comprehensive advice. Waikato Management School (WMS) provides leadership in sustainable business practices. In New Zealand, both the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) provide annual awards for the best sustainability reports. WMS has a member on each of the judging panels and it provides further help by creating a short list of possible award winners to the judges of the ACCA competition. The NZICA judges create a shortlist for themselves. In 2011, a total of 10 organisations appeared on the two shortlists combined because they were considered amongst the best sustainability reports entered for the awards. This paper describes what the minimal requirements of a reasonable sustainable report should be. It then analyses the contents of each of the shortlisted reports to determine how well these leading sustainability reports measure up against the WMS minimal criteria.

Keywords: Sustainability, Reporting Awards, New Zealand

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.63-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 690.396KB).

Dr. Martin Kelly

Graduate Convenor, Department of Accounting, Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand

Dr. Martin Kelly is an ambassador of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He is also a chartered accountant in New Zealand and holds a doctorate in accounting. He has published in excess of 100 academic works. He teaches courses in Organisations and Society at both the final year undergraduate level and postgraduate level. These courses critically assess the use and abuse of accounting in the contemporary business world. He has taught on MBA courses at Waikato University, Massey University, Liverpool University (UK), and Leveun University (Belgium). His current research interests are: philosophy of management, corporate governance, sustainability, stakeholder management, CSR, business ethics, and social justice.

Alison McCourt

Lecturer, Accounting Department, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Alison is a lecturer of Commercial Law in the Accounting Department as well as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. She has been interested in the whole area of sustainability and environmental issues for many years. She has been part of the ACCA short listing panelfor Sustainability Reporting Awards since its inception in New Zealand.

Dani Foo

Assistant Professor, Accounting, New Zealand

Dr. Dani Foo is a senior lecturer in Finance, and a Chartered Accountant. He has taught widely at various universities in Texas, Macao/Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, UK and Australia. His main areas of research interest are: ICT applications in financial environments, E- trading in speculative-markets, and CSR.

Jagdeepkaur Singh-Ladhar

Assistant Lecturer, Accounting, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Jagdeepkaur Singh-Ladhar is an assistant lecturer of Commercial Law in the Accounting Department. She is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. Her research interests include the law of water allocation, environmental law, and sustainability reporting and related issues. She has been a part of the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards team since its inception in New Zealand.