The Motivations for Adopting Sustainability Disclosure

MGSM Working Paper No. 2005-17

22 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2005

Date Written: August 2005


The aim of this paper is to explore the literature regarding sustainability and extended reporting frameworks, to catalogue various typologies of reporting frameworks, to investigate the motivation by organisations to adopt such frameworks, and to identify the extent of their use in Australia.

We start by defining corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability and provide a brief overview of the historical development of the concepts of sustainability. Key to this is understanding stakeholders and their importance as a motivator for organisations to adopt sustainability reporting frameworks.

We outline the background to the development of new reporting frameworks by examining the academic literature in the area of sustainability research. We identify and catalogue 11 new reporting and social accounting guidelines, and focus on the development of one particular framework, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and investigate the extent of its use in Australia.

We find the motivation for adopters of sustainability reporting frameworks is to attempt to communicate with their stakeholders the performance of management in achieving long-run corporate benefits, such as improved financial performance, increased competitive advantage, profit maximisation, and the long-term success of the firm.

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, sustainability, GRI, disclosure frameworks

JEL Classification: G14, M40

Suggested Citation

Finch, Nigel, The Motivations for Adopting Sustainability Disclosure (August 2005). MGSM Working Paper No. 2005-17. Available at SSRN: or

Nigel Finch (Contact Author)

Saki Partners ( email )


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