Purpose- To provide an insight into the level of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting in the Australian Commonwealth public sector supply chain. The view is taken that supply chain CSR reports are based solely on the performance and management of individual segments of a supply chain rather than the supply chain in its entirety.
Design/methodology/approach- This paper is a conceptual paper based on an examination of CSR reporting and the practices in public sector supply chains, using a generic Australian Commonwealth public sector supply chain. The direction of this examination is guided by the new public management paradigm where efficiency, effectiveness and accountability are the key principles.
Findings- The key finding from this initial review is that there is a relatively high level of CSR reporting by public sector organisations by individual segment in the supply chain. However, the issues of comparability and consistency are yet to be adequately addressed and it is this lack of comparability and consistency which weakens the potential strength associated with CSR reporting in the public sector. Practical implications- This paper provides an opportunity for greater appreciation of the holistic view which should be taken on CSR reporting of a supply chain rather than the segmented approach currently practiced. While the goods and services provided by public sector organisations are “non-rival and non-exclusive” and the organisations involved are quite different to private sector organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs), the argument presented for a more holistic perspective to be taken on CSR reporting of supply chains is relevant to all sectors.
Originality/value- The literature review on CSR reporting has shown there is only minimal research on holistic CSR reporting of supply chains in both the private and public sectors. This paper is one of the very first to explore the concept of holistic CSR reporting of public sector supply chains.