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The accountant will have a central role in saving the planet … really? A reflection on ‘green accounting and green eyeshades twenty years later’

Craig Deegan

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2013, vol. 24, issue 6, 448-458

Abstract: There is widespread but not universal acceptance that organisations should provide ‘accounts’ of not only their financial performance, but also of their social and environmental performance. There have also been various suggestions across time that traditional financial reporting frameworks, albeit with some modification, have relevance to calls for greater corporate accountability. This paper seeks to dismiss such suggestions. For the accounting profession to be able to meaningfully contribute to extending accountability beyond investors, lenders, and creditors (and it undoubtedly serves these interests well) it will need to abandon many core accounting conventions and principles – something that is deemed unlikely to occur – at least in the readers’ lifetime. This paper also highlights the apparent absurdity of using market-based mechanisms (such as cap-and-trade systems for pollutants) to solve social and environmental problems that were effectively caused by ‘the market’. Having questioned the role of the accounting profession in contributing to broad-based corporate accountability, the paper concludes by questioning the role of accounting and business educators in instilling some form of personal social responsibility in the minds of students.

Keywords: Environnemental; Social; Développement durable; Ambiental; Social; Sostenibilidad; Environmental; Social; Sustainability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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