One way forward: non-traditional accounting disclosures in the 21st century

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Recent empirical studies (Deegan and Rankin, 1999; Deegan et al., 2000) have indicated that although many corporations have begun to respond to perceived demand for environmental disclosures in published accounts, their perspective of organisational legitimacy is a narrow view, in which information is targeted towards specific stakeholders and not to the general public. This paper considers a range of models (variously called guidelines, standards and charters) which have been put forward by different organisations to aid the development of social and environmental disclosures. In all cases verification and attestation are part of the proposed regimen. The question which the papers attempts to answer is whether any one of the models would be capable of rapid adoption as part of an expanded GAAP, should the professional accounting bodies think that this is desirable. The outcome of our deliberations is cautious support for the use of EMAS and ISO 14000 as the basis for a modified GAAP plus the further development of the GRI 2000 guidelines into a set of standards covering both social and environmental reporting.
Environmental auditing, Social accounting