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Problematising accounting for biodiversity

Jones, Michael John and Solomon, Jill Frances ORCID: 2013. Problematising accounting for biodiversity. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 26 (5) , pp. 668-687. 10.1108/AAAJ-03-2013-1255

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Purpose This paper seeks to problematise “accounting for biodiversity” and to provide a framework for analysing and understanding the role of accounting in preserving and enhancing biodiversity on Planet Earth. The paper aims to raise awareness of the urgent need to address biodiversity loss and extinction and the need for corporations to discharge accountability for their part in the current biodiversity crisis by accounting for their biodiversity‐related strategies and policies. Such accounting is, it is believed, emancipatory and leads to engendering change in corporate behaviour and attitudes. Design/methodology/approach The authors reviewed the literature relating to biodiversity across a wide array of disciplines including anthropology, biodiversity, ecology, finance, philosophy, and of course, accounting, in order to build an image of the current state of biodiversity and the role which accounting can and “should” play in the future of biodiversity. Findings It is found that the problems underlying accounting for biodiversity fall into four broad categories: philosophical and scientific problems, accountability problems, technical accounting problems, and problems of accounting practice. Practical implications Through establishing a framework problematising biodiversity, a roadmap is laid out for researchers and practitioners to navigate a route for future research and policymaking in biodiversity accounting. It is concluded that an interdisciplinary approach to accounting for biodiversity is crucial to ensuring effective action on biodiversity and for accounting for biodiversity to achieve its emancipatory potential. Originality/value Although there is a wealth of sustainability reporting research, there is hardly any work exploring the role of accounting in preserving and enhancing biodiversity. There is no research exploring the current state of accounting for biodiversity. This paper summarises the current state of biodiversity using an interdisciplinary approach and introduces a series of papers devoted to the role of accounting in biodiversity accepted for this AAAJ special issue. The paper also provides a framework identifying the diverse problems associated with accounting for biodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0951-3574
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2023 14:02

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