There should be more normative research on how social and environmental accounting should be done

Matthew Brander*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

I suggest that the SEA research community has not engaged significantly with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change because our community generally does not offer normative policy-focused advice on how to account for climate change. This raises the question ‘Why not?’. It cannot be because there is no demand for normative accounting guidance, as examples of this need abound everywhere. And it cannot be because normativity is ‘not academic’ as other academic disciplines engage in normative research, notably the fields of economics and life cycle assessment. The SEA research community may be constrained by its social constructivist epistemology, its focus on explanatory theory which drives us towards explanatory rather than normative questions, and our training in social science research methods rather than direct engagement with how to do social and environmental accounting. Notwithstanding the challenges there is a pressing need for better accounting practice, and who better to develop methods for social and environmental accounting than the social and environmental accounting research community? Arguably, there should be more normative research on how social and environmental accounting should be done.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
JournalSocial and Environmental Accountability Journal
Volume42
Issue number1-2
Early online date27 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2022

Keywords

  • social and environmental accounting
  • normative research
  • climate change accounting
  • normativity
  • normative method development

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