Accounting for carbon and reframing disclosure: A business model approach

Haslam, Colin; Butlin, John; Andersson, Tord; Malamatenios, John; Lehman, Glen
September 2014
Accounting Forum;Sep2014, Vol. 38 Issue 3, p200
Academic Journal
This paper contributes to the research in accounting and the debate about the nature of carbon footprint reporting for society. This paper utilises numbers and narratives to explore changes in carbon footprint using UK national carbon emissions data for the period 1990-2009 and six years (2006-2011) of carbon emissions data for the FTSE 100 group of companies and a case study that focuses on the UK mixed grocery sector. Our argument is that existing approaches to framing carbon disclosure generate malleable, inconsistent and irreconcilable numbers and narratives. In this paper we argue for an alternative framing of carbon disclosure informed by a reporting entities business model. Specifically, we suggest, that a reporting entity disclose its carbon-material stakeholder relations. This alternative, we argue, would increase the visibility of carbon generating stakeholder relations and avoid some of the difficulties and arbitrariness associated with framing carbon disclosure around a reporting entity boundary where judgements have to be made about responsibility and operational control.


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