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Environmental accounting and disclosure in Saudi Arabia

Al-Khuwiter, Abdulrahman Mohammad 2005. Environmental accounting and disclosure in Saudi Arabia. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Interest in environmental issues has grown in the last three decades. This increase in interest has been attributed, at least in part, to global environmental problems (such as the thinning of the ozone layer global warming deforestation species extinction air, water, and land pollution and toxic waste) and industrial accidents (such as Bhopal in 1984 Chernobyl in 1986 and the Exxon Valdez in 1989). This rise in environmental awareness has resulted in an increase in research relating to the environment in many disciplines including accounting. However, the literature review indicated that research relating to environmental accounting and disclosure in developing countries is small, and the majority of research in this area is in the context of developed countries. Moreover, no research has been undertaken that analyses and evaluates environmental accounting and disclosure (EAD) practices in Saudi Arabia. This research therefore aims to fill the gap identified in the literature. The main aims of this thesis were to examine current and perceived EAD in Saudi Arabia. Two methods were utilised to collect data for this endeavour. A questionnaire survey was distributed to three groups of respondents (namely, financial managers in the Top 100 Saudi companies, auditors, and accounting academics), and semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of these three groups to investigate issues relating to EAD in more depth. The main research findings point to the lack of adoption of current EAD practices by Saudi companies and only a small number of companies among the Top 100 in Saudi Arabia currently have an environmental policy (EP). These findings suggest a lack of awareness of the significance of environmental issues among organisations' management. In fact, lack of interest from organisations' management was thought to be the main reason for not adopting environmental accounting followed by insufficient benefits generated from it. Environmental issues were thought to influence the profitability, survival, competitiveness, image, and decision-making process of Saudi organisations. Accounting for and disclosing information about items related to the environment included water energy waste disposal recycling remediation and product life-cycle assessment (LCA). Improvement of the organisation's image in the eyes of the public was considered to be the most influential reason for the disclosure of environmental information (EI) disclosure followed by adherence to local environmental laws. Most important reasons preventing EI disclosure included the non existence of mandatory requirements to do so and non-requirement by Saudi accounting standards. Due to lack of regulations in Saudi Arabia, disclosure of EI is currently voluntary. The preferred form is a mixture of qualitative, quantitative, and financial forms. Finally, the overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that Saudi companies should adopt EPs appropriate to their size and activities, and these should include all commitments that will lead to limiting organisations' negative effects on the environment and enhancing positive effects. Environmental information systems (EISs) should be developed and implemented to facilitate EI production and disclosure. Measurement of all environmental impacts of an organisation should be carried out to facilitate decision-making both internally and externally. Governmental agencies and other non-governmental parties should play a major role in promoting environmental awareness to increase the adoption of EAD practices in Saudi Arabia.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
ISBN: 9781303170089
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 15:28

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