Category Archives: Environment

2SER Radio Interview about the Catalyst CSR Dashboard and Corporate Reporting

Annamarie Reyes from 2SER’s Radio Atticus talks to Martijn Boersma, Researcher at Catalyst Australia and the University of Technology Sydney, about the Catalyst CSR Dashboard and the poor corporate reporting on labour standards and supply chains.

Mind the Gap: Company Disclosure Discrepancies not Sustainable

The recent decision by two Australian retailers to sign an accord protecting suppliers in Bangladesh has highlighted discrepancies in company disclosure of sustainability issues and the need for clearer reporting guidance.

Kmart and Target became the first Australian companies to sign the Global Union Federations’ building and safety accord, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh. According to Oxfam Australia, Big W and Cotton On are also making moves to sign the accord; however, a lack of information on which companies have suppliers in Bangladesh means a potential lack of other Australian signatories.

Recent research by Catalyst Australia, a collaborative policy network, shows that this lack of supply-chain information is not an isolated incident and that significant gaps exist in sustainability reporting by Australian companies. Continue reading Mind the Gap: Company Disclosure Discrepancies not Sustainable

Catalyst Australia Launches CSR Dashboard Assessing Australian Companies

Today Catalyst Australia launched its CSR Dashboard, which assesses the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of 32 of Australia’s largest companies across six different topics: gender equality, environment, labour standards, supply chain, community investment and engagement. The breadth of research and data analysis that underpins theCSR Dashboard gave the researchers some overall impressions about social and environmental reporting in Australia. Surprisingly, the majority of our leading companies were not up to scratch. Despite being based on well-established global and local standards of good practice, in most cases the criteria used in the CSR Dashboard were too aspirational to be met by the companies in the sample. Only four of the 32 companies provided enough public information to rate their performance in all 20 of the indicators. Ten companies had three or less reporting gaps. At the other end of the spectrum seven of the 32 companies did not achieve a rating in more than half of the 20 indicators. Some topic areas were widely overlooked, such as supply chains. Companies also disclosed selectively around labour standards. The website provides a visual representation of the full results for all companies and topics, as well as background information about the project.

Canadian Tar Sands: The Need To Move Away From The Second-Hand Car Salesman Logic

 This week the United States will decide whether it will build a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. The pipeline, which will cost 7 billion dollars, will ensure the transportation of oil gained from Canadian tar sands to the United States. Proponents emphasize the need of energy supplied by a friendly neighboring country instead of the hostile Middle East. Opponents see great risks to the environment and would prefer investing in renewable energy. A debate followed on PBS between pipeline proponent Robert Bryce and environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Continue reading Canadian Tar Sands: The Need To Move Away From The Second-Hand Car Salesman Logic