Sustainability Accounting: Volume 7

Cover of Sustainability Accounting

Education, Regulation, Reporting and Stakeholders

Subject:

Table of contents

(9 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-ix
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Purpose

This chapter investigates the perceptions of social audit within the context of the garment companies of Bangladesh. The chapter highlights two recent incidents that claimed the lives of about 1,300 garment workers in Bangladesh. Based on the fact that Western clothing brands use social audits before sourcing their products from Bangladesh, this chapter investigates if any real change happens as a result of the information provided in the social audit reports.

Methodology/approach

The insights were gathered through conducting personal interviews with managers of social audit firms, corporate managers and various stakeholders of the textile and garment companies of Bangladesh. This chapter used the accountability theory to understand the perceptions of social audit.

Findings

The chapter finds that different stakeholders have different perspectives regarding social audits. The high-profile catastrophes within the supply chain garment factories of Bangladesh provided evidence that social audits did not help prevent such catastrophes in a different socio-economic context. The results have revealed stakeholder dissatisfaction with the procedures and content of social audits. It also finds that there is an expectation gap between the preparers and users of social audit reports.

Practical implications

The insights provided in this chapter would benefit garment manufacturers of developing countries and relevant stakeholders to demonstrate more accountability while conducting a social audit.

Originality/value

This is the first known chapter investigating stakeholders’ perceptions of social audit within the context of a developing country. More importantly, it focuses on responsible corporate behaviour in a socially sensitive industry.

Purpose

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.

Methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Special Section Csear France 2015

Purpose

This study explores how Canadian CPAs (Chartered Professional Accountants) are trained in sustainability. The main research questions are: What place should sustainability take in the accounting program? What place does sustainability occupy in the CPA accounting program? And, over time, has sustainability gained or lost ground within the Canadian professional accounting education program?

Methodology/approach

Content analysis and interviews.

Findings

We find that sustainability is not a key component of the CPA education program since its sustainability content has shrunk over the years. We believe that the groupthink phenomenon may have influenced the selection of CPA Competency Map participants (whose backgrounds reveal a lack of sustainability expertise) as well as the participants’ discussions. Additionally, a lack of consideration for society as a key stakeholder may have also influenced the shortage of sustainability content. Finally, power dynamics might have contributed to the financial accounting and reporting competencies dominating the new map.

Research limitations

We did not have access to the live meetings when the Map was created, although we conducted interviews with representatives involved in the process. This research is bound by a confidentiality agreement that limits us from providing sensitive details. However, we do not consider that these limitations undermine our contribution or reduce the relevance of our research.

Originality/value

Our research contributes to the under-researched domain of sustainability education and to understanding how groupthink, stakeholder theory and power dynamics may have contributed to the dearth of sustainability coverage in the new Canadian CPA program.

Purpose

The objective of this chapter is to analyse the impact of France’s ‘Grenelle 2’ law of 2010, which applies to environmental accounting disclosures (EADs). More specifically, it seeks to observe whether the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ ‘comply or explain’ model, transposed into the French regulatory framework, influences the disclosure strategies of firms that are listed on a regulated market.

Methodology/approach

Drawing on the theoretical framework of legitimacy and the concept of normativity, an empirical study is conducted on a sample of 96 French firms listed on the SBF index between 2009 and 2014. The effect of regulation is assessed by a content analysis of EAD in annual reports, examining changes in disclosure practices and the contents of disclosures.

Findings

The main results show that explanations for the absence of EAD showed a significant increase after the introduction of the law. We also observe that the new rules had no effect on the number of firms making EADs, although the quality of the disclosures declined. Finally, the results also concern practices of non-disclosure without any accompanying explanation.

Research limitations

The limitations of this study relate to the choices underlying the classifications and observations made during the content analysis.

Practical implications

This study has social relevance in that it supplies information for assessing the transposition of European directives into French law.

Originality/value

This study extends research concerning environmental disclosures by examining a recent accounting object. It also continues the debate on normativity, with its analysis of disclosures subject to a changing regulatory framework.

Purpose

This chapter explores the adaptation and evolution of stand-alone CSR reporting in two different political economies and late-capitalist countries: Brazil and South Korea. Instead of selecting between new institutionalism and the varieties of capitalism (VOC) approach, this study attempts to explore how the interaction between converging and diverging pressures appears in the adaptation and evolution of stand-alone CSR reporting (i.e., cross-fertilization process) in two countries.

Design/methodology/approach

Using qualitative content analysis this study focuses on the frameworks of CSR reports and the way CSR issues are described within the stand-alone CSR reports of four telecommunication companies in Brazil and South Korea.

Findings

Even though CSR reports in both countries have become similar due to the convergence of frameworks of CSR reporting, the key themes and the representation on each theme are still embedded within each form of market economy: a hierarchical market economy (HME) in Brazil and a network market economy (NME) in South Korea. From a cross-fertilization perspective, this chapter shows that the adaptation and evolution of CSR reporting occurs at two different levels of CSR reporting.

Value

This study has three major values. First, it explains the two different levels of the adaptation and evolution process of CSR reporting by bringing a dynamic cross-fertilization view. Second, it provides a qualitative study that focuses on the content of CSR disclosures instead of the quantity of those disclosures. Lastly, it contributes to the academic and practical research on CSR in late-capitalist countries and in two under-researched types of political economies.

Index

Pages 173-182
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Cover of Sustainability Accounting
DOI
10.1108/S1479-359820187
Publication date
2018-04-17
Book series
Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78754-889-3
eISBN
978-1-78754-888-6
Book series ISSN
1479-3598