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(Non) coverage of sustainability within the French professional accounting education program

Emilio Boulianne (Department of Accountancy, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Leanne S. Keddie (Department of Accountancy, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Maxence Postaire (Department of Management Control, Accounting and Auditing, 1 Capitole Institut d’Administration des Entreprises de Toulouse, Universite Toulouse, Toulouse, France and Comptabilité Contrôle Audit, Toulouse Business School, Toulouse, France)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 29 May 2018

Issue publication date: 21 August 2018




This study seeks to identify how professional accountants in France are educated in sustainability; we examine the French accounting programs in regard to sustainability accounting education recommendations.


We analyze a variety of documents to ascertain what comprises the typical accounting education program in France. Additionally, we conduct five interviews of various stakeholders to understand the importance of sustainability accounting and education in the French context.


We note an interesting paradox in the French context: while the government requires the reporting and auditing of corporate sustainability information, we find that sustainability is not greatly present in the government-funded French accounting education program. We determine that the government’s power in setting the education agenda combined with its budget restrictions and ability to defer responsibility to other parties has resulted in this paradox in the French setting.

Practical implications

This research draws attention to the consequences of society ignoring sustainability education for professional accountants.

Social implications

This paper contributes to the discussion on how to educate responsible professional accountants and the implications for the planet if accountants are not trained in sustainability.


This research contributes to the important domain of sustainability accounting education. We also explore additional implications for the accounting profession and the general public.



Boulianne, E., Keddie, L.S. and Postaire, M. (2018), "(Non) coverage of sustainability within the French professional accounting education program", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 313-335.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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