Sustainability reporting emerged on the corporate scene nearly 30 years ago as a key mechanism through which business organisations would manage a transition to a new business landscape dominated by greater concern and consciousness about sustainability. While it has become something of a feature on the corporate agenda in some parts of the world, the majority of business organisations do not undertake this type of reporting. This paper explores why 23 of Australia's top 200 companies do not undertake sustainability reporting. The study is situated in the context of a considerable literature that promised numerous benefits to be derived from this type of reporting. The paper uncovers various social and organisational factors that raise some new questions about legitimacy theory, corporate accountability and the spread and uptake of this organisational practice. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.