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Corporate Water Accounting, Where Do We Stand? The International Water Accounting Field and French Organizations

Sustainability Accounting

ISBN: 978-1-78754-889-3, eISBN: 978-1-78754-888-6

Publication date: 17 April 2018



The research objectives of this chapter are threefold. First, we explore what is the current status of corporate water accounting tools and methodologies. Second, we develop a framework for analyzing corporate water accounting and reporting. Third, we investigate what French CAC 40 companies account for and report in relations to the water challenge.


We collected annual and sustainability reports from all CAC 40 companies as well as their water Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) responses when available. We also collected all publically available corporate water accounting methodologies to assess the international water accounting field. We coded the data according to our designed framework via qualitative data analysis software.


Although water is seen as equally important to climate change (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), 2009), French multinationals have a very immature reporting on this topic. Most still do not report to the water disclosure questionnaire of CDP in 2014 and rely on basic figures such as global water consumption. We analyzed the multiple water accounting, reporting, and risk assessment frameworks that have mushroomed since 2000, and question the impact of this fragmented field on the maturity of the water performance reporting by French companies.

Practical implications

The developed framework for analysis of water reporting can be used for sustainability teaching at university level.


We developed the first comprehensive analytical framework for water corporate reporting assessment. Moreover, this research is the first comprehensive study of water reporting in Europe. We therefore contribute to extend our comprehension of corporate maturity in water stewardship and water performance reporting.



Gibassier, D. (2018), "Corporate Water Accounting, Where Do We Stand? The International Water Accounting Field and French Organizations", Sustainability Accounting (Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 31-65.



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