تجزیه و تحلیل نقش شاخص های توسعه پایدار در حسابداری برای و ساختن یک اسکاتلند پایدار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29349||2009||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 33, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 225–244
The main objective of this paper was to analyse how sustainable development indicators impacted upon the integration of sustainable development into the governing of Scotland. A major concern was whether an accounting technology could represent this complex multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary concept. We analysed the relationship between the official sustainable development strategy of the Scottish Executive and the associated indicator set using an analytics of government framework (Dean, M. (1999). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. London: Sage Publications. Dean, M. (2007). Governing societies. Berkshire: Open University Press). We observed a lack of alignment between these sustainable development indicators and the visions, fields of visibilities, forms of knowledge and techniques of government contained in this strategy. Critical aspects of this strategy were omitted from the indicator set and we argue that these indicators did not to effectively measure progress towards a Sustainable Scotland but that they could calculatively capture and distort the sustainable development governing process. The analytical framework used allowed us to problematise these indicators and contribute to a wider discourse on the composition and nature of sustainable development indicators.
Sustainable development is currently a powerful global counter-narrative to contemporary western lifestyles and forms of governing societies (Beck & Wilms, 2004). Despite previous strenuous denials, elements of the sustainable development counter-narrative have become accepted as social and scientific facts. Accordingly, sustainable development is transforming from a sub-political narrative into the rationalities and practices of governing by institutional actors in different contexts and across different scales. This institutional acceptance of the sustainable development narrative is expected to continue in line with our growing knowledge of damage done to natural eco-systems, social injustices perpetuated on our own species and the impending catastrophes that threaten all life forms on this small, blue planet. Although sustainable development has formed part of the publicly stated ideals of many individuals, businesses, NGOs and governments; there was (and still is) significant confusion and contestation over its meaning and implementation (Bebbington, 1997; Bebbington & Gray, 2001; Jordan, 2008). In an effort to explore accounting and governing for sustainable development in Scotland we conducted a longitudinal analysis of sustainable development strategies and indicators between 1999 and 2008, to observe how sustainable development was translated into the governing of Scotland's society and how the Scottish Executive1 accounted for the transition towards sustainable development. This paper reports on our analysis of Choosing Our Future ( Scottish Executive, 2005b), a sustainable development strategy, and how sustainable development indicators impacted upon the integration of sustainable development into the everyday governing of Scotland. A major concern was how effectively an accounting technology could represent this complex multi-dimensional concept. We view sustainable development indicators as a social and environment accounting technology and this paper was informed by prior research on accounting as a technology of governing (Gouldson & Bebbington, 2007; Miller & O’Leary, 1987; Miller, 1990; Hopwood & Miller, 1994; Miller & Rose, 1990; Rose, 1991). Most of this literature is informed by Foucault, 1979, Foucault, 1981, Foucault, 1986, Foucault, 1991a, Foucault, 1991b and Foucault, 1993, which also underpins the ‘analytics of government’ framework (Dean, 1999 and Dean, 2007) with which we examined the relationship between a sustainable development strategy and sustainable development indicators in Scotland at the beginning of the 21st century. Sustainable development was part of the responsibilities2 devolved to the Scottish Parliament in July 1999. Since then, the Scottish Executive has periodically made public commitments to sustainable development through policy documents (Scottish Executive, 2002, Scottish Executive, 2005b and Scottish Government, 2007) and publication of progress reports (Scottish Executive, 2003, Scottish Executive, 2004 and Scottish Executive, 2005a; www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/SustainableDevelopment/measuring-progress). Moreover, sustainable development has been described as a defining characteristic of government in Scotland. For example: sustainable development is not a single policy; it is an approach to all policies, which is why it goes to the very heart of sound governance. Down to Earth (The Scottish Office, 1999:3) Just as every decision and action is targeted at closing the opportunity gap, so too will all our work be judged against how well we conserve and sustain the environment that our children will inherit from us. Scotland is a land of many riches; our natural resources and the talents of our people. Our responsibility to future generations is to conserve, protect and harness all those resources. Foreword, Meeting the Needs (Scottish Executive, 2002). Our choices in addressing environmental pressures will be critical to shaping a modern, successful and sustainable Scotland, and to maintaining a quality of life which retains and attracts talented people. Spending Review 2007 (Scottish Government, 2007). The production of three sustainable development strategies3 in a 5-year period demonstrated a public commitment to the concept and its delivery. However, it also indicated problems with sustainable development policy making and previous strategy documents. The following quote hinted at past difficulties: Sustainable development is a concept easy to subscribe to, harder to put into practice. What matters is the change to culture, policy and action that results from a strategy – and this one is designed to deliver such change. Foreword to Choosing our Future (Scottish Executive, 2005b) Choosing Our Future (2005), the official sustainable development strategy4 at the time of our study, incorporated all of the elements of previous strategies and introduced a number of additional considerations. For example, it introduced a stronger recognition of inter- and intra-generational equity in Scotland and globally (Russell & Thomson, 2007). By examining the sustainable development indicators alongside this particular sustainable development strategy we gained a number of insights into how effectively sustainable development was integrated into governing the transition to a Sustainable Scotland. 5 The paper is structured as follows. First, we present and justify the analytic framework that was drawn from our review of governmentality-related literature on governing societies and accounting, critiques of sustainable development indicators and the sustainability of sustainable development strategies. Second, we describe our empirical site and research methods adopted. Third, we present and analyse the evidence gathered from our analysis of Choosing Our Future and sustainable development indicators. The paper will conclude with a discussion of our key findings and implications of this study.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The paper was motivated by the possibility that sustainable development indicators could negatively impact upon the integration of sustainable development into the everyday governing of Scotland. A major concern was how effectively accounting technologies could represent this complex multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary concept. These concerns were grounded in findings from prior research into social and environmental accounting, sustainable development indicators and governmentality studies of accountancy. Our review of prior research suggested that sustainable development indicators could calculatively capture sustainable development and suppress significant fields of visibilities, forms of knowledge and technologies of government. This was important in authoritarian liberal regimes of government where sustainable development indicators could play an important role in dividing ‘sustainable’ from ‘unsustainable’, diagnosing ‘sustainable’ disorder and pathologies, constructing ‘sustainable’ course of actions and legitimating the use of state power for non-compliance. Sustainable development indicators also have the power to exclude actions and incorrectly classify ‘unsustainable’ actions as ‘sustainable’ exempting them from government intervention and thus perpetuating unsustainable behaviours. Similar problems were observed in research into accounting practice and sustainability, for example problematically legitimating business’ alleged belief in the sustainability of their operations, promoting the business as usual agenda, inability to challenge neo-classical ideals, overcoming advanced liberal hegemony, and the danger of managerial capture. If sustainable development indicators are to support a transition towards sustainable development we argue that they must incorporate and represent conceptions of “nature”, “society” and “success” that are aligned with sustainable development governing. In order to investigate these issues we used a multi-layered documentary analysis. This involved consideration of the wider governmental context, a deconstruction of sustainable development strategy and sustainable development indicators into analytics of government components, a characterisation and examination of the alignment of the practices and rationalities of governing between sustainable development strategy and sustainable development indicators, an evaluation of the ‘sustainability’ of the strategy and indicators and interpreting the sustainable development indicators as a technology of government. Our evaluation of Choosing Our Future confirmed most of the criticisms and problems identified in our literature review as to how sustainable development indicators monitored delivery, measured progress, accounted for and captured sustainable development. Despite the sustainable vision expressed in Choosing Our Future our analysis suggested a number of significant obstacles to achieving that vision of a Sustainable Scotland, which included sustainable development indicators. Within Choosing Our Future we identified over 100 government programmes associated with a Sustainable Scotland, but the overall assemblage of government programmes was closer to authoritarian liberalism rather than our speculative description of sustainable development governing. Our interpretation of Choosing Our Future was that of a politically pragmatic strategy that re-branded established government technologies within a programme of incremental reform that fell short of sustainable development. This approach reflected the legacy of past governments and their vision of the ‘reality’ of contemporary governing, but also created the potential for new forms of governing to emerge. However, this potential may be limited by the accounts produced using sustainable development indicators. The sustainable development indicators were significantly misaligned with the sustainable development strategy and obscured or ignored critical aspects of the sustainable development strategy. Many of these indicators were the legacy of past government programmes and could perpetuate previous unsustainable actions. We argue that it was not possible to effectively measure progress towards a Sustainable Scotland using these sustainable development indicators, but they could calculatively capture and distort the sustainable development governing process. We suggest that analytics of government provides a theoretic approach to diagnose and problematise specific sustainable development indicators in order to enable an informed and structured discourse on the composition and role of sustainable development indicators in order to avoid this capture and the legitimation and perpetuation of unsustainable actions.