Integrated extinction accounting and accountability: Building an Ark


Speaker:Warren Maroun, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Date: Wednesday 7 February 2018
Time: 14:30 - 16:00
Location: Kolade Teaching Room, Building One

Further details

Structured Abstract

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. In this paper we 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 organizational 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.

The paper is essentially theoretical in approach, seeking to bring together scientific theories of extinction with a need for corporate and organizational accountability whilst recognizing philosophical concerns in the extant environmental accounting literature about accepting any business role and capitalist mechanisms in ecological matters. Our overarching framework derives from the concept of emancipatory accounting.

Findings and Practical implications

The outcome of the writing is to present (a) an emancipatory ‘extinction accounting’ framework which can be embedded within integrated reports, and (b) a diagrammatic representation, in the form of an ‘ark’, of accounting and accountability mechanisms which, combined, can assist, we argue, in preventing extinction. We suggest that the emancipatory framework may also be applied to engagement meetings between the responsible investor community (and NGOs) and organizations on biodiversity and species protection.

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.