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Book part
Publication date: 1 December 2009

Norhayah Zulkifli, Brian Telford and Neil Marriott

Purpose – During the past decade in Malaysia, there has been a rise in the number of companies engaging in a rudimentary form of social and environmental reporting, and

Abstract

Purpose – During the past decade in Malaysia, there has been a rise in the number of companies engaging in a rudimentary form of social and environmental reporting, and this has coincided with high-profile media coverage of environmental disasters in the country. The purpose of this article is to explore the perceptions of accounting practitioners in Malaysia to social and environmental accounting (SEA).

Methodology/approach – The study utilises a mixed-method approach and involves 245 survey questionnaire respondents, 7 in-depth interviews and the qualitative data from 123 of the survey respondents.

Findings – The level of knowledge and awareness of accounting practitioners in Malaysia of SEA is low. They are sceptical about quantification and valuation issues, but are able to see that reform, which would have to be driven by legislation, and could improve business performance regarding social justice and environmental quality.

Research limitations/implications – This study enables the development of SEA and reporting framework as a vehicle for further discussions on business communication and the participants’ perceptions relating to social and environmental accountability in Malaysia. It postulates the strong likelihood that SEA will take root in Malaysia given the strong undercurrents of accounting and business malpractices and the clarion call by many for the reinstatement of the ethical dimension of the profession.

Originality/value of the article – While most research on SEA and reporting in the context of Malaysia focuses on the disclosure aspects, this article explores the perceptions of accounting practitioners and establishes their insights on the issue of social and environmental accountability and reporting.

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Accounting in Emerging Economies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-626-7

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2010

Ioannis E. Nikolaou and Konstantinos I. Evangelinos

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the drawbacks of current social and environmental accounting methods and to present a classification for developing a new accounting model.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the drawbacks of current social and environmental accounting methods and to present a classification for developing a new accounting model.

Design/methodology/approach

The various social and environmental accounting methods are classified and discussed on the basis of various criteria such as the types of accounting principles and the content and information units utilized.

Findings

Current social and environmental accounting methods utilize different criteria, measurement units and principles, a fact that makes the information provided ambiguous and problematic for a reliable business‐society dialogue under a common and understandable context. A new classification is presented based on specific criteria in the prospect of developing a new accounting model.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed new classification aiming to develop a new accounting model is a theoretical proposition which should be validated and tested in practice with a series of case studies before it can be recommended as an alternative to current accounting methods.

Originality/value

The paper attempts to highlight the drawbacks of the current social and environmental accounting methods and proposes a new classification for the development of a new accounting model.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1997

M.R. Mathews

Reviews 25 years of social and environmental accounting literature in an attempt to evaluate the position and answer the question posed in the title, as well as to provide…

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14821

Abstract

Reviews 25 years of social and environmental accounting literature in an attempt to evaluate the position and answer the question posed in the title, as well as to provide a structure or classification for others to use. In order to structure the task, uses three time periods: 1971‐1980; 1981‐1990; and 1991‐1995, and classifies the literature into several sub‐groups including empirical studies, normative statements, philosophical discussion, non‐accounting literature, teaching programmes and textbooks, regulatory frameworks, and other reviews. Attempts, after the classification, to synthesize an overall chronological position. Concludes that there is something to celebrate after 25 years. However, the continued success of this field is dependent on a relatively small number of researchers, writers, and specialized journals without which there would be the danger of a collapse of interest and a loss of what has been gained so far. Consequently, the provision of a place in the advanced undergraduate and graduate curriculum is a major task for the next decade. Argues that appropriately qualified and motivated professionals are needed to contribute to environmental policy and management in both the public and private sectors. However, appropriate educational programmes have not been evident to date.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2010

Teresa Eugénio, Isabel Costa Lourenço and Ana Isabel Morais

The last years have witnessed a growth in interest in social and environmental questions. Many companies have developed environmental management and auditing systems and

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3163

Abstract

Purpose

The last years have witnessed a growth in interest in social and environmental questions. Many companies have developed environmental management and auditing systems and altered their social and environmental disclosure practices. These developments resulted in the growth of research focusing on the analysis of information disclosed by companies. The purpose of this study is to contribute a reflection on the papers that have been published on social and environmental accounting from 2000 to 2006.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review of the papers examining social and environmental matters published in selected accounting journals allows the identification of the key content issues, methodologies and research questions which have been predominant in the social environmental accounting research (SEAR) area. It also enables one to pin‐point areas for future research.

Findings

The content was examined and classified in four groups: social and environmental accounting systems; social and environmental disclosures; regulation impact; and relations among environmental disclosure and environmental performance. For each group, the research method; data origins and type of data; industry and country were identified. Almost all the studies are based on content analysis and interviews. Data are collected not only from the financial statements but also from other types of information disclosed by companies. In many cases, industry activities are selected carefully and most of the studies used data from the UK, Australia, and the USA.

Originality/value

The paper provides a contribution to the development of the SEAR area, exploring different views. It also helps schools to identify areas for future research.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

Gordon Boyce

Economic “development” involves processes that often jointly produce both goods and “bads” – economic, environmental and social. The bads, however, are often…

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5768

Abstract

Economic “development” involves processes that often jointly produce both goods and “bads” – economic, environmental and social. The bads, however, are often technologically invisible; not least in terms of the way decisions are informed and accounted for. This paper takes as its case study a major development proposal that had the potential to produce economic, environmental, and social goods and bads. The paper involves an exploration of official independent reports leading to the proposal, considering the various factors taken into the decision, how the processes were reported on and accounted for. In particular, the treatment of financial/economic factors is examined and compared and contrasted with the treatment of social/environmental factors. From this, the paper considers possibilities for financial, social and environmental accounting in public discourse and decision making. In particular, the use of accounting to create environmental and social visibilities, and to facilitate discourse and debate, is examined.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2002

Craig Deegan

This paper serves as an introduction to this special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal; an issue which embraces themes associated with social and

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56328

Abstract

This paper serves as an introduction to this special issue of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal; an issue which embraces themes associated with social and environmental reporting (SAR) and its role in maintaining or creating organisational legitimacy. In an effort to place this research in context the paper begins by making reference to contemporary trends occurring in social and environmental accounting research generally, and this is then followed by an overview of some of the many research questions which are currently being addressed in the area. Understanding motivations for disclosure is shown to be one of the issues attracting considerable research attention, and the desire to legitimise an organisation’s operations is in turn shown to be one of the many possible motivations. The role of legitimacy theory in explaining managers’ decisions is then discussed and it is emphasised that legitimacy theory, as it is currently used, must still be considered to be a relatively under‐developed theory of managerial behaviour. Nevertheless, it is argued that the theory provides useful insights. Finally, the paper indicates how the other papers in this issue of AAAJ contribute to the ongoing development of legitimacy theory in SAR research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 27 January 2014

Camelia Iuliana Lungu, Chiraţa Caraiani and Cornelia Dascălu

This study analyses the scope of social and environmental reporting from the perspective of integrating it in financial reporting and comments on a new approach regarding…

Abstract

Purpose

This study analyses the scope of social and environmental reporting from the perspective of integrating it in financial reporting and comments on a new approach regarding the presentation of social and environmental information in the annual reports from Romanian companies’ perspective.

Methodology

A literature review introduces and justifies the second part of the research. The latter is organised as an exploratory study based on interviews. It presents the current state of Romanian companies’ availability for reconsidering financial reporting from the perspective of corporate social responsibility.

Findings

While social and environmental involvement of Romanian companies is at an early stage, there is a basis for future development of corporate reporting by addressing social and environmental aspects. We noticed that companies have the tendency of responding rather to a mandatory framework than a voluntary one.

Research limitations

The limitations of the research are linked to the study population. The small number of Romanian companies that publicly manifest interest for social responsibility determined the choice of a qualitative instead of a quantitative research.

Social implications

The exploratory study based on the case of Romania accompanies the present state of non-financial versus financial reporting in order to highlight measurable and non-measurable, but relevant, information to be considered in a future reporting framework.

Originality of the chapter

The study advances new lines in accounting research by confronting the national and international perspectives of social and environmental reporting. Debates and arguments on the research results add value and utility to the research.

Details

Accounting in Central and Eastern Europe
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-939-3

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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2003

Marc J Epstein

This paper provides a review of the progress made in both academic literature and corporate practice over the last forty years. Although there has been an increase in the…

Abstract

This paper provides a review of the progress made in both academic literature and corporate practice over the last forty years. Although there has been an increase in the number of companies producing social and environmental reports, the quality of the disclosures has not increased. Further, there is little evidence of progress in the integration of social and environmental impacts into management decisions. The paper provides suggestions on research needs to increase the integration of social and environmental impacts into management decisions and improve both the internal reporting and external disclosures and accountability of corporations.

Details

Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-070-8

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2020

Jeremy Andrew Nicholls

The purpose of this paper is to propose a public policy solution to updating mainstream financial accounting from its nineteenth century roots and make it more relevant and

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a public policy solution to updating mainstream financial accounting from its nineteenth century roots and make it more relevant and consistent with public policy, individual investor motivations and global needs as exemplified in the sustainability development goals. Many approaches to integrating social and environmental accounts with financial accounts are additive; the two types of accounting information sit alongside each other. The opportunity to revise the basic building block of financial accounting, information to help investors make economic decisions relating to investments to increase integration and recognition that this is a public policy decision and not an accounting profession decision, is rarely considered.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a viewpoint on the opportunities for and benefits of integration of financial, social and environmental accounting.

Findings

The current basis of financial accounting does not reflect private investors’ motivations, and changing the basis of accounting is a public policy issue.

Research limitations/implications

This is a viewpoint paper. The pros and cons of current approaches to valuation of social and environmental outcomes are not explored.

Practical implications

Changing policy would require support from asset managers and owners, accounting bodies, civil society and politicians and would need a plan for transitioning from the existing approach.

Social implications

This is a possible starting point for formal research that could support policy changes that could result in resource allocation decisions taking account of social and environmental impacts.

Originality/value

There are several approaches for integrating social environmental and financial accounting; however, the proposal that integration would result from a change in public policy specifically clarifying and updating investor motivation provides a possible solution to many of the challenges of integration.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Craig Michael Deegan

The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the contributions made to the social and environmental accounting literature by papers that comprised a 2002 Special Issue of

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5262

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon the contributions made to the social and environmental accounting literature by papers that comprised a 2002 Special Issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ) entitled social and environmental reporting and its role in maintaining or creating organisational legitimacy. This paper will also provide insights into the origins of legitimacy theory as used in the social and environmental accounting literature as well as providing reflections about the strengths, and shortcomings, of the theory. Suggestions are made with respect to the ongoing application, and development, of legitimacy theory.

Design/methodology/approach

As a commentary, this paper utilises a review of the social and environmental accounting and institutional literature across a number of decades to reveal insights about the development and use of legitimacy theory as a basis to explain social and environmental reporting practices. Citation data are also used to indicate the potential impact that the papers in the 2002 Special Issue had upon subsequent research.

Findings

This commentary shows that the 2002 Special Issue is the most highly cited issue in the history of AAAJ. It also shows that individually, some of the papers in the Special Issue represent some of the most highly cited papers in the social and environmental accounting literature. The commentary provides arguments to suggest that the development of legitimacy theory is in need of further refinement, and suggests a way in which this refinement might take place.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is largely based on the opinions of one researcher, and the evidence presented in the paper is selected on the basis that it is deemed sufficient to support the opinions being projected. The paper also relies on citation data as an indicator of “impact”. The implication of the research is that it identifies a “way forward” for the development of theory applicable to the understanding of organisational social and environmental reporting practices.

Originality/value

The study provides evidence to show that the 2002 Special Issue was significant within the context of AAAJ, and also within the context of the evolution of the social and environmental accounting literature. The description of the history of the development of legitimacy theory, and of the theory’s subsequent application, provides a solid impetus for future refinements to the theory.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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