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What motivates environmental auditing? A public sector perspective

Nacanieli Rika (School of Accounting and Business Information Systems, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 20 November 2009




This paper seeks to discuss the motivation for commencement of environmental auditing within the Fiji Office of the Auditor‐General (OAG). It also aims to analyse the actual topics audited between 2005 and 2007 and the standards employed in those audits.


A case study approach is employed, involving document analysis and semi‐structured interviews.


Environmental auditing in Fiji's public sector can be explained in terms of institutional isomorphism: coercive, through pressure from the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and United Nations (UN); mimetic, in relation to adoption of best practice within INTOSAI; and normative, through communication and professional training provided by INTOSAI. There is also evidence of decoupling; although government has ratified Millennium Development Goal 7 on environmental sustainability, it has failed to allocate adequate resources to the relevant departments.

Research limitations/implications

Since audit reports were not publicly available, it was not possible to review audit opinions and the main audit findings. Nor was it possible to conduct follow‐up interviews with audit clients.

Practical implications

Sufficient financial and human resources must be devoted to environmental management and auditing. Accountants must be involved in the initial development of Environmental Management Systems (EMS). This recognises the particular skills which they possess and facilitates the subsequent audit of systems.


The current research examines the adoption of environmental auditing in the public sector and finds that it can be explained using institutional theory. Accounting practices in a small developing country are strongly influenced by global networks.



Rika, N. (2009), "What motivates environmental auditing? A public sector perspective", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 304-318.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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