Corporate Commitment to Sustainability – Is it All Hot Air? An Australian Review of the Linkage between Executive Pay and Sustainable Performance


  • Craig Deegan,

  • Muhammad Azizul Islam

Craig Deegan, School of Accounting, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia. Email:


Across time, companies have increasingly made public commitments to sustainable development and to reducing their impacts on climate change. Management remuneration plans (MRPs) are a key mechanism to motivate managers to achieve corporate goals. We review the MRPs negotiated with key management personnel in a sample of large Australian carbon-intensive companies. Our results show that, as in past decades, the companies in our sample have MRPs in place that continue to fixate on financial performance. We argue that this provides evidence of a disconnection, or ‘decoupling’, between the sustainability-related rhetoric of the sample companies, and their ‘real’ organisational practices and priorities.