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From the Big Five to the Big Four? Exploring extinction accounting for the rhinoceros

Atkins, Jill ORCID:, Maroun, Warren, Atkins, Barry Colin and Barone, Elisabetta 2018. From the Big Five to the Big Four? Exploring extinction accounting for the rhinoceros. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 31 (2) , pp. 674-702. 10.1108/AAAJ-12-2015-2320

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore a possible framework for extinction accounting which builds on but also extends significantly the existing GRI guidelines relating to species identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List as under threat of extinction. Design/methodology/approach – The paper analyses disclosures relating to rhinoceros conservation and protection produced by top South African-listed companies in order to assess the current state of “extinction accounting”. Following this analysis, the authors explore and discuss a potential framework for extinction accounting which may be used by companies to demonstrate their accountability for species and disclose the ways in which they are working alone, and in partnerships, to prevent species extinction. Findings – Corporate disclosures relating to rhinoceros may be interpreted as emancipatory. The authors identify several disclosure themes dealing with rhinoceros in integrated and sustainability reports of large South African companies and on their websites. Contrary to initial expectations, there is evidence to suggest corporate awareness of the importance of addressing the risk of this species becoming extinct. Research limitations/implications – The authors have relied on public corporate disclosures and would like to extend the work further to include interview data for a further paper. Practical implications – An extinction accounting framework may be applied to corporate accounting and accountability for any species under threat of extinction. The framework may also be considered for use as a tool for institutional investors as well as NGO engagement and dialogue with stakeholder companies. Social implications – The rhinoceros has, from the analysis, significant cultural, heritage, eco-tourism and intrinsic value. Developing and implementing an emancipatory extinction accounting framework to prevent extinction will have a substantial social and environmental impact. Originality/value – This is the first attempt to the knowledge to explore accounting for extinction and a possible extinction accounting framework. It is also the first attempt to investigate accounting and accountability for the rhinoceros.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0951-3574
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 April 2023
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 18:33

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