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Purpose of environmental reporting

People who make decisions about the environment need accurate and reliable environmental information. With this information, they can make informed decisions about natural resource management and set environmental policy. Environmental reporting also helps us know whether policy initiatives or environmental management approaches are effective over time.

We cannot continuously measure every aspect of the environment. In the same way that gross domestic product is used as an indicator of economic activity, an environmental indicator provides information on a specific aspect of our environment.

Environmental reporting relies on using a range of indicators to measure and report on the overall health of our environment in a cost-effective, practical, and meaningful way.

State of the environment reporting is widely used as an environmental management tool (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006). It uses environmental indicators to draw together scientific knowledge, information, and data to track:

  • environmental trends

  • activities that have an impact on the environment

  • the effectiveness of environmental policies and management actions.