This article aims to understand what drives the selected group of South Australian local councils to undertake sustainability reporting in the absence of a mandatory reporting framework. The case study uses new institutional theory as the theoretical framework. The study focuses on four selected South Australian local councils and uses semi-structured interviews to explore influences on sustainability reporting practice in these councils. The findings highlight a number of institutional factors that influence the sustainability reporting practices within these four councils. The South Australia's Strategic Plan, which acts as a quasi-coercive isomorphic pressure (semi-statutory obligation to abide by certain prescribed rules and regulations), is the most influential factor that motivates most councils to adopt sustainability reporting practices. In addition, evidence of normative isomorphism (information sharing among professionals) and mimetic isomorphism (following practices of other similar organisations) are identified in the study. Overall this research extends the applicability of institutional theory in the field of sustainability reporting and provides new perspectives to the limited literature on sustainability reporting in local councils.
|The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice
|Published - 2018