Environmental accounting in NSW local government: Disclosures and motivations

Julie McElroy, Jayne Bisman

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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The findings revealed that the method of 'valuation' of environmental information was predominantly 'declarative', residing in the context of positive 'responses' by councils to the environment. This is in contrast to 'non-monetary' data and negative 'pressures' that were placed on the environment by council or the community. Significant differences between the amount of environmental disclosures and council locality (rural and urban) were found, as well as how disclosures were being made (valuation method, environmental context and environmental dimension). The second phase of the research, based on semi-structured interviews, was an investigation into why councils reported environmental information. An overwhelming majority of council respondents declared mandatory legislative requirements to be the prime motivator for making environmental disclosures.To date, extension of the study of environmental reporting and the factors associated with environmental disclosures has not deviated far from the realm of private enterprise into the public sector. There is also only limited knowledge and understanding of environmental accounting disclosures made at the local government level. The research reported in this paper is a step towards remedying these deficiencies. The first objective of the research was to investigate the amount and type of environmental disclosures made by NSW local governments within their 2001-2002 annual reports. The second objective was to unearth the factors driving, and motivations for, NSW local councils to make these disclosures. A mixed method research design was applied. The first phase of the research involved investigation of how environmental dimensions (biodiversity, water, land, air, sewerage and garbage) were being reported at the local government level in terms of method of valuation (monetary, non-monetary, declarative or mixture), the news type (good, bad, neutral) and the information context (pressure, state, response).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAFAANZ Conference 2005
EditorsAFAANZ Technical Committee
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)0975697617
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventAccounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) Annual Conference - Melbroune, Australia, Australia
Duration: 03 Jul 200505 Jul 2005


ConferenceAccounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ) Annual Conference

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    McElroy, J., & Bisman, J. (2005). Environmental accounting in NSW local government: Disclosures and motivations. In AFAANZ. T. Committee (Ed.), AFAANZ Conference 2005 (pp. 28). AFAANZ.