The Business Council of Australia has welcomed yesterday’s release of the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services Inquiry into Corporate Responsibility and Triple-Bottom-Line reporting.
The committee’s inquiry has provided Australia’s large corporations with the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to working responsibly with the Australian community. The report also confirms the BCA view that more regulation and red tape is not the answer to encouraging greater corporate responsibility and reporting.
The BCA welcomed the committee’s finding that no amendments are needed to the statutory duties of directors and officers to allow companies to engage in corporate social responsibility activities.
“The committee’s report should settle the question of whether directors’ duties prevent companies taking into account the relevant interests of the community,” said Ms Katie Lahey, Chief Executive.
“All senior directors and executives know that their duties allow them to consider a wide range of interests. The fact that all BCA Member companies engage in some form of corporate social responsibility demonstrates that formalising this is not an issue.”
The BCA also welcomed the committee’s finding that mandating corporate responsibility reporting would be premature.
“Australian companies are reporting their performance in this area in ever-increasing numbers. Some 80 per cent of BCA companies already disclose their corporate social responsibility activities in some form,” said Ms Lahey.
“To mandate reporting against some legislative framework would just stifle the innovation and competition that exists as companies look to develop new and better ways of reporting.”
“There are already strong drivers for companies to be good corporate citizens and to report publicly on their performance. Those companies that lead in this area, for example, will enjoy a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining staff.”
The BCA submission to the Parliamentary Committee identified a range of other drivers that mean large corporations will continue to have regard for the interests of the broader community.