Accounting and sustainable development: Reflections and propositions

Jan Bebbington*, Shona Russell, Ian Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
1203 Downloads (Pure)


This paper emerges from an invitation to reflect upon the achievements of social and environmental accounting as well as to identify the challenges that lie ahead as the field continues its engagement with the goal of sustainable development. Three perspectives are developed in pursuit of that aim, namely: exploring the nature of the issues and mode of academic inquiry that is 'fit for purpose' given the demands of sustainable development; considering if a de-centring of accounting and the embrace of more holistic versions of accountability would be productive for future scholarship; and an exploration of how we might conceptualise 'engagement' with practice in this context (and what is meant by practice and practitioner). Taken together, this paper seeks to provide points of provocation and encouragement to social and environmental accountants, critical accounting scholars and to those seeking to understand sustainable development scholarship and action.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date14 Jul 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2017


  • Accountability
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Information Systems and Management


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