What Drives TBL Reporting: Good Governance or Threat to Legitimacy?


  • Pamela Kent,

  • Reza Monem

Pamela Kent, Faculty of Business, Technology & Sustainable Development, Bond University, Robina, Qld, 4226, Australia. Tel: +61 7 5595 2279; fax: +61 7 5595 1160; email: pkent@staff.bond.edu.au


This paper provides two complementary explanations for the adoption of triple bottom line (TBL) reporting by Australian companies. The first explanation is that companies adopt TBL reporting to legitimise their relationship with society because of adverse publicity from the media. The second explanation is that TBL reporting is adopted because of the company's desire to achieve high-quality reporting and transparency inferred by strong corporate governance. Companies with TBL reporting had significantly more adverse media coverage before implementing TBL reporting than non-TBL companies. TBL reporting is also significantly and positively related to the existence of an environmental or sustainable development committee and the frequency of meetings of the audit committee.