The role of accounting in handling and reporting environmental effects
The thesis investigates the broad areas of accounting's adaptability in handling and reporting environmental effects. The main purposes of the study are: firstly. to draw together the literature of environmental concern and accounting: secondly to establish whether the use of environmental accounting is practised. to ascertain whether there is a suitable medium for environmental reporting and lastly to formulate a theoretical environmental performance model. The overall orientation of the research was to consider whether accounting should break away from its traditional economic and financial principles and broaden its scope to embrace a system that echoes with "environmental concern". In order to address these issues. the methods of evaluating environmental effects are looked at, together with the methods for accounting and reporting them. For these purposes, data were collected using a cross-sectional corporate methodology. The instrument used for the survey was the postal questionnaire. The construction and content of the questionnaire were influenced by the information gleaned from the literature review and, in the main, it covered qualitative, quantitative and financial information. The evidence gathered from the research has shown that environmental accounting and reporting are being practised by a variety of companies and are also becoming more widespread, which demonstrates that accounting is playing an important role in handling environmental transactions. The research has also shown that environmental accounting and reporting are gaining a broader perspective and now embrace environmental management systems. resource efficiency, and general environmental stewardship. Overall, the study recognises and concludes that environmental accounting and reporting, although spreading. should now be supported by environmental accounting and reporting guidelines from the accountancy profession, and in time, by legislation. Also environmental reports should be verified by external auditors in order to improve their integrity and prevent them from being used as a public relations exercise.