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For an accounting translation of the Anthropocene: fuelling the debate on planetary boundaries

Richard Jabot (Department of Accounting, TBS Business School, Toulouse, France)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 6 December 2022

Issue publication date: 26 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to problematize the need for debate in operationalizing the planetary boundaries framework when accounting for the Anthropocene.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper’s aim is achieved through a literature review focusing on the assumptions around the Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and organizations. The author conducted an integrated review of 91 documents discussing the operationalization of the planetary boundaries framework and the need for debate.

Findings

This paper develops two major findings. First, the author identifies the four main dimensions of the planetary boundaries that need to be debated: social, normative, narrative and control aspects. Second, the author exposes proposals in the literature that have the potential to fuel the debate, but which are themselves a source of debate.

Practical implications

This paper argues that, while being scientifically informed, the planetary boundaries framework leaves decision-makers with critical choices and decisions that need to be openly debated. This paper identifies some relevant proposals for doing so.

Social implications

This paper underlines the need to open forums of debate for scientists and other stakeholders to raise the democratic legitimacy of the planetary boundaries framework.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is one of the very first papers to investigate dimensions of the planetary boundaries that need to be debated to respond to the challenge of its operationalization.

Keywords

Citation

Jabot, R. (2023), "For an accounting translation of the Anthropocene: fuelling the debate on planetary boundaries", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 21-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-09-2021-0390

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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