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Integrated extinction accounting and accountability: building an ark

Atkins, Jill ORCID: and Maroun, Warren 2018. Integrated extinction accounting and accountability: building an ark. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 31 (3) , pp. 750-786. 10.1108/AAAJ-06-2017-2957

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Purpose We are currently experiencing what is often called the sixth period of mass extinction on planet Earth, caused undoubtedly by the impact of human activities and businesses on nature. The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential for accounting and corporate accountability to contribute to extinction prevention. The paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach, weaving scientific evidence and theory into organisational disclosure and reporting in order to demonstrate linkages between extinction, business behaviour, accounting and accountability as well as to provide a basis for developing a framework for narrative disclosure on extinction prevention. Design/methodology/approach The paper is theoretical and interdisciplinary in approach, seeking to bring together scientific theories of extinction with a need for corporate and organisational accountability whilst recognising philosophical concerns in the extant environmental accounting literature about accepting any business role and capitalist mechanisms in ecological matters. The overarching framework derives from the concept of emancipatory accounting. Findings The outcome of the writing is to: present an emancipatory “extinction accounting” framework which can be embedded within integrated reports, and a diagrammatic representation, in the form of an “ark”, of accounting and accountability mechanisms which, combined, can assist, the authors argue, in preventing extinction. The authors suggest that the emancipatory framework may also be applied to engagement meetings between the responsible investor community (and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)) and organisations on biodiversity and species protection. Research limitations/implications The exploratory extinction accounting and accountability frameworks within this paper should provide a basis for further research into the emancipatory potential for organisational disclosures and mechanisms of governance and accountability to prevent species extinction. Practical implications The next steps for researchers and practitioners involve development and implementation of the extinction accounting and engagement frameworks presented in this paper within integrated reporting and responsible investor practice. Social implications As outlined in this paper, extinction of any species of flora and fauna can affect significantly the functioning of local and global ecosystems, the destruction of which can have, and is having, severe and dangerous consequences for human life. Extinction prevention is critically important to the survival of the human race. Originality/value This paper represents a comprehensive attempt to explore the emancipatory role of accounting in extinction prevention and to bring together the linkages in accounting and accountability mechanisms which, working together, can prevent species extinction.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0951-3574
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2023 13:04

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