Phantasmagoria, sustain-a-babbling in social and environmental reporting

Authored by: Markus J. Milne

The Routledge Companion to Accounting Communication

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415617147
eBook ISBN: 9780203593493
Adobe ISBN: 9781135071585


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Thirty years ago corporate social reporting, as it was known then, was largely an erudite concept – it was something academics argued about but few business and other organizations did. There was academic dissatisfaction over the dearth of organizational practice as well as significant debate about the possibilities for such practice. Academics argued about whether organizations should produce social and environmental accounts and reports, and whether organizations could do so. In the last thirty years, and particularly so over the last two decades, social and environmental reporting practice (and more recently triple bottom line reporting, sustainability reporting and soon-to-be integrated reporting) has increased significantly and is now something many (large) organizations proclaim they can do and are doing. Despite burgeoning practice, however, many proponents of social and environmental reporting remain dissatisfied and critical of such developments. Time and again I have been asked, somewhat quizzically, surely as a social and environmental accountant you would be in favour of sustainability reporting, so why are you so critical of such organizational reporting and communication practices?

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