The foundations of environmental accounting

Authored by: Jan Bebbington

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Accounting

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367152338
eBook ISBN: 9780367152369
Adobe ISBN:


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The aim of this chapter is to bring to light the origins story of environmental accounting, a story that has been lost over time and which has relevance to present-day scholars. The chapter pinpoints the date of environmental accounting becoming a distinct field of its own to 1990, linking it to the publication of a research report for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants by Rob Gray. While noting that this was a pivotal publication, the chapter draws out the pre-conditions that made this work possible as well as the assumptions that underlie environmental accounting. These foundations are then subject to further consideration in light of the time in which we find ourselves (namely, in the Anthropocene) and consideration is given to how the field’s founding principles might be revisited in light of this emerging understanding of the contemporary environmental condition.

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