Financial comparability and environmental diversity: An international context

Pamela Edwards, Frank K. Birkin, David G. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accounting and environmental management both hold improved resource-use efficiency as an ultimate goal, but intermediate processes and objectives vary and consequently it is separately assessed within each discipline. This paper intends to make visible the globalizing trends in accounting practice, which aim to standardize financial reporting to produce comparable information so that shareholders can maximize their economic wealth. This paper seeks to contrast this comparability strategy with apparent need for diversity in accounting information exhibited by actual accounting practices, the information needs of environmental management and, ultimately, the cultural needs of sustainable development. We argue that a more pluralistic model, that enables a holistic assessment of corporate performance and balances diverse stakeholder objectives, is better suited to an uncertain future. Implementation requires accountants and environmental managers jointly to create and test a new order of reporting. There are many practical challenges but most significantly accountants and environmental managers must combine to enhance the visibility and credibility of these diverse performance measures. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-359
Number of pages16
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


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