Nature of environmental disclosures

You are required to present a report that compare contrasts and evaluates the environmental disclosures of 2 Australian companies in the same industry for the period ending 30 June 2005, by rating the environmental disclosures of these companies with a score out of 10.

To do this you will need to:

1. Describe and outline the nature of environmental disclosures and identify any mandatory requirements in relation to environmental disclosures.

• Note: this assignment is to focus on environmental disclosures only. A number of companies make other voluntary disclosures and/or provide sustainability reports that also include ‘social’ disclosures, or triple bottom line reporting.

2. Briefly identify and outline the companies you have selected by describing their key characteristics, the industry in which they operate and the location of their environmental disclosures.

• You should be selective in determining which key characteristics of the companies you identify. This selection should assist the reader of the report in comparing the companies and placing the environmental disclosures in context.

Note: Some companies disclose additional information in addition to that included in the annual reports (for example, on corporate websites or in separate environmental or sustainability reports). You will also need to consider these.

(Note: This should be VERY brief with no more than 3/4 page overall)

3. Identify, compare, contrast and evaluate the environmental disclosures (both mandatory and voluntary) made by each of the companies.

Note the following:

• The evaluation of the environmental disclosures must be undertaken using the qualitative characteristics in the Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements (Accounting Handbook). In doing this you will need to consider the relative weighting/importance that you place on specific qualitative characteristics.

You will need to discuss the meanings and importance of these characteristics in the context of environmental reporting.

• You need to determine the extent to which the current disclosures would meet the objectives of financial reporting in terms of meeting users needs.

• In comparing the environmental disclosures you will need to discuss the similarities/differences between the companies’ disclosures.

• You should use examples to illustrate your comparisons and evaluations. You can attach examples of environmental disclosures made in Appendices and refer to these Appendices in your report. Appendices that are simply extracts/examples of environmental disclosures from annual reports will not be included in the word limit.

Remember: You may also need to consider environmental disclosures made on the companies’ websites.

4. Reach a conclusion, about the usefulness of these disclosures and rate each company’s environmental disclosures with a score out of 10. You will need to justify your ‘score’ on the basis of the previous analysis/evaluation.

• Your conclusion should be based on the comparison and evaluation of the disclosures of the two companies undertaken previously (in 3 above), with consideration being made for the similarities and differences of the characteristics of each of the companies previously identified.

Evaluating the disclosures and reaching a conclusion about their relative quality will require judgement explaining the basis for the assertion/conclusion.

Note: Will you please provide the proper reference so that I can verify the source and may be able to gain further knowledge by reading those articles or other sources.

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