Title: Accounting for sustainability: the quest for a conceptual framework

Authors: Voicu D. Dragomir

Addresses: The Faculty of Accounting and Management Information Systems, Academy of Economic Studies of Bucharest, Cladirea Ion N. Angelescu, Piata Romana nr. 6, Sector 1, Bucuresti, cod 010374, Romania

Abstract: This paper aims to produce an original model distilling a conceptual framework for sustainability reporting. Two levels of information reliability are described, derived mainly from accounting conceptual frameworks, and global reporting initiative (GRI) guidelines. We follow an inductive approach: we analyse the qualitative characteristics of specific environmental indicators, in order to assess the degree of relevance and reliability of each particular provision. We will finally make an attempt to derive the objective of sustainability reporting, while evaluating the degree of usefulness of this type of documents that closely follow the more formalised process of financial reporting. We conclude that there are a number of reasons for not reporting; most of these are related to internal data reliability. Hence, stakeholders cannot distinguish between different types of data unreliability; and the GRI does little on this matter.

Keywords: sustainability; accounting conceptual framework; corporate reporting; global reporting initiative; GRI; stakeholder theory; sustainable development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2011.042930

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2011 Vol.3 No.4, pp.384 - 398

Published online: 21 Oct 2014 *

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