In this paper, we reflect and provide insights on the environmental implications of post-COVID-19 economic recoveries. More specifically, we highlight the connection(s) between the environment and the COVID-19 crisis, in particular the intertwined links between Mother Nature and the virus. We then raise some concerns about the ‘illusionary’ positive and negative effects of the crisis on the environment before evoking some past lessons about crisis management and recovery. We contend that the current accounting and accountability mechanisms employed in economic stimulus programs, as well as traditional environmental accounting approaches, are inadequate and limiting to achieve long-term sustainability change. The paper concludes by offering accounting practitioners and researchers some possibilities to take a step forward and develop new understandings of social and environmental value consistent with ecological principles and sustainable development—and hope that these reflections will contribute to a broader debate on the role of accounting for sustainable development in the Anthropocene.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Editor Jane Andrew for giving us the opportunity to contribute this article to the special issue “The Environment in Crisis” for Critical Perspectives on Accounting and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions. Charles Cho also thanks Annabelle Chan for her research assistance and acknowledges the support provided by the Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business & Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business. We would also like to pay a tribute to the memory of Professor Rob Gray, Professor Keith Maunders and Professor Jeffrey Unerman, who very sadly passed away recently. They were the pillars of social and environmental accounting research and paved the way for us. We dedicate this article to them.
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd
- Environmental crisis
- Social and environmental accounting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Information Systems and Management