This paper aims to document and discuss the involvement of a group of Spanish academics in the process of social and environmental reporting regulation to reflect on the role of accounting academics in regulatory processes.
The paper describes the long-standing engagement of a group of Spanish scholars in social and environmental reporting regulation, with a particular focus on the transposition of the EU Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial information to the Spanish legislation.
Despite failures and mistakes in the engagement history of those scholars with different regulatory processes, academics problematized social and environmental reporting regulation, bridged the gap between regulation and practice, and facilitated the debate about social and environmental reporting. This long-term and collective engagement generated the intellectual capital that allowed researchers to provide their perspectives when the Spanish political process was ripe to move such regulation in a progressive direction.
The paper remarks two important aspects that, according to the reported experience, are required for academics to engage in social and environmental reporting regulation: developing long-standing research projects that enable the accumulation of intellectual capital to effectively intervene in regulatory processes when the opportunity arises; and nurturing epistemic communities seeking to promote corporate accountability was fundamental to circulate ideas and foster the connection between academics and policymakers. This long-term and collective perspective is at odds with current forms of research assessment.
Academics have a responsibility to intervene in regulatory processes to increase corporate transparency.
The experience reported is unique and the authors have first-hand information. It spans through two decades and extracts some conclusions that could feed further discussions about engagement and, hopefully, encourage scholars to develop significant research projects.
The authors would like to thank the reviewers and Carol Adams for their helpful comments to an earlier version of this paper. We are also grateful for the financial assistance provided by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, FEDER and Consejería de Educación, Junta de Castilla y León (Grants ECO2015-65782-P and BU058P17).
Garcia-Torea, N., Larrinaga, C. and Luque-Vílchez, M. (2020), "Academic engagement in policy-making and social and environmental reporting", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 281-290. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-03-2019-0123
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