Sustainability accounting and accountability is fundamental in the pursuit of low-carbon and less unsustainable societies. Highlighting that accounting, organisations and economic systems are intertwined with sustainability, the book discusses how sustainability accounting and accountability broaden the spectrum of information used in organisational decision-making and in evaluating organisational success. The authors show how sustainability accounting can prove to be transformative, but only if critical questions are sufficiently addressed.
This new and completely rewritten edition provides a comprehensive overview of sustainability accounting and accountability. Relevant global context and key concepts are outlined providing the reader with the conceptual resources to engage with the topic. Drawing on the most recent research and topical practical insights, the book discusses a wide variety of sustainability accounting and accountability topics, including management accounting and organisational decision-making, sustainability reporting frameworks and practices, as well as ESG-investments, financial markets and risk management. The book also highlights the role accounting has with key sustainability issues through dedicated chapters on climate, water, biodiversity, human rights and economic inequality. Each chapter is supplemented with practical examples and academic reading lists to allow in-depth engagement with the key questions.
Sustainability Accounting and Accountability walks the reader through a spectrum of themes which are essential for all accountants and organisations. It helps the reader to understand why our traditional accounting techniques and systems are not sufficient for navigating the contemporary sustainability challenges our societies are facing. This key book will be an essential resource for undergraduate and postgraduate instructors and students, as an entry point to sustainability accounting and accountability, as well as being a vital book for researchers.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction to sustainability accounting and accountability
PART I Setting the context
2 Background and global context
3 Accountability, stakeholders, materiality and externalities: Examining key concepts
PART II Accounting for sustainability
4 Sustainability management accounting and control
5 Sustainability reporting: History, frameworks and regulation
6 The sustainability reporting process
7 ESG investments and risk management
8 External accounting
PART III Issues in accounting for sustainability
9 Accounting for climate
10 Accounting for water
11 Accounting for biodiversity
12 Accounting for human rights
13 Accounting for economic inequality
PART IV Conclusion
14 Closing remarks
Matias Laine is Academy Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Accounting at Tampere University, Finland.
Helen Tregidga is Professor of Accounting at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
Jeffrey Unerman was Professor of Sustainability Accounting at Lancaster University, UK.
"Sustainability Accounting and Accountability is essential reading. It provides accounting students and educators with the much-needed conceptual resources to engage meaningfully with the most pressing issues of our times. In considering the relationship between accounting and the climate crisis, rising economic inequality and human rights, the book provides students with the critical tools they need to be part of these important debates. The viability of our future depends on books like this and I hope all accounting students have access to courses with this as their primary resource."
Associate Professor Jane Andrew, The University of Sydney, Australia
"As global society and organizations increasingly address the Sustainable Development Goals, the need for accountants to support this unstoppable movement is clear. Sustainability Accounting and Accountability is the book that provides the essential underpinning for this task, introducing accounting tools that will advance sustainability and providing constructive critique as to if these tools are fit for purpose. This book is an insightful and clear-headed exposition from leaders in the field and will be essential for all students and researchers."
Professor Jan Bebbington, Director, Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, University of Lancaster, UK
"Without evidence or knowledge of the social, economic or ecological consequences of our decisions we will remain trapped in destructive patterns of behaviour. We will remain unaware of how to create sustained shared value, build resilient systems or reduce the risks we currently face. Drawing on extensive research, the authors identify the blind spots, knowledge gaps and those marginalised by conventional accounting and accountability. This book offers insights, new possibilities and pathways to align the undoubted power of accounting and accountability with the challenges of the 21st century to help ensure a sustainable future for all."
Professor Ian Thomson, Director of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business, University of Birmingham, UK, and Convenor of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accountability Research (CSEAR)