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The development and application of a decision-useful measure of environmental best practice for the mining industry

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 03:54 authored by Hutchings, G, Craig DeeganCraig Deegan

Purpose: The failure of environmental reporting to meet the needs of stakeholders is partly due to the gap, or inconsistency, between information disclosed in corporate reports and the underlying quality of environmental management. Within the context of the mining industry, this paper present a novel approach to close this gap. By measuring and reporting the comprehensiveness of environmental management – in a manner consistent with the qualitative characteristics applied within financial reporting – this paper contends that stakeholders can, as a result, better assess the environmental risk of mining operations and hold organisations more accountable for their environmental commitments.

Design/methodology/approach: Using interviews and surveys, this paper draws on the knowledge of experienced environmental practitioners to measure the otherwise intangible quality of “environmental management”. The accounting metric developed is then used to quantify the comprehensiveness of environmental management of thirty Australian-based mine sites.

Findings: The findings suggest: (1) the accounting metric presented in this paper could better inform the decisions of both internal and external stakeholders; (2) significant variation in the comprehensiveness of environmental management exists within corporate entities and across the mining industry; (3) ISO 14001 is generally an indicator – but not a guarantee – of strong environmental management and (4) ISO 14001 self-declarations are largely symbolic.

Originality/value: The accounting metric presented in this paper could better inform user decisions, enhance corporate accountability and drive continuous improvement in environmental management. It could also provide a foundation for similar customised metrics in other industries and across other areas of sustainability.


Publication title

Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal








Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of publication

United Kingdom

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© Emerald Publishing

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental management not elsewhere classified

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