Although few regulations in environmental reporting exist, many Australian companies report their environmental management in their annual environmental reports. Three big Australian mining companies, namely Pasminco Limited, Western Mining Company and MIM Company were examined. All of these companies published the Annual Environmental Report separately from their annual financial reports. These three companies have high political costs because they operate in areas in several countries, involving a large number of employees, and their stocks are listed in more than one stock market. Because of that, some interest groups examined them thoroughly, for example, government agencies, and environmental groups. The motive to reduce political costs encourages them to voluntarily sign the Australian Minerals Industry's Code for Environmental Management. One obligation of the signing companies is to publish the annual environmental reports.
The objective of the present research is to examine factors encouraging companies to report on environmental issues and possible benefits that they obtain from this reporting for companies voluntarily reporting their environmental management in an annual environmental report. There are seven reasons from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, companies' responsibility to sustain the environment, to increase the companies' image, to meet shareholders' requirements, to anticipate future legal requirements, to obtain and maintain a competitive advantage, to meet customers' demands, especially overseas customers, and to meet environmental groups' demands. Fayers supplies another reason for voluntary environmental reporting, in addition to seven reasons above, namely communities' right to know how well companies manage their environment. Companies also reduce political costs by voluntarily reporting environmental information.