Environmental accounting and 21st- century sustainability governance

Authored by: Carlos Larrinaga

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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This chapter focuses on how environmental accounting can contribute to the governance of socio-ecological systems. First, the chapter explores what type of accounting can assist the transformation of the relationship between organisations and the biosphere. To that end, different understandings of sustainability governance that are found in the environmental accounting literature are reviewed, illustrating the unfruitfulness of a corporate governance approach, and exploring the role of environmental accounting in adaptive and transformative forms of sustainability governance. It is proposed that environmental accounting associated with adaptive governance will need to reconnect different scales (e.g. organisations with planetary boundaries); deal with specific issues in a wide array of contexts including, and beyond, the corporation; and reconsider established theories, such as accountability. The exploration of governmentality ideas as well as the engagement with science can provide insight for an environmental accounting associated with transformative governance.

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