ادغام گزارش توسعه پایدار در شیوه های مدیریتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11||2008||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 32, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 288–302
This paper examines the process of developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring sustainability performance and the way in which sustainability KPIs are used in decision-making, planning and performance management. Interviews were conducted with personnel from four British and three Australian companies. The findings indicate that the organisations are integrating environmental indicators, and increasingly also social indicators, into strategic planning, performance measurement and decision-making including risk management. However, the sustainability issues on which our sample focus and the management operations on which they impact vary considerably. This has implications for the development of practice, voluntary guidelines and legislation.
Increasing attention and concern over the social and environmental impact of business and the impact of social and environmental issues on business has led a number of companies to actively account for and manage their sustainability footprint. Recent emphasis has been on the integration of ethical, social, environmental and economic, or sustainability issues within corporate reports. This has been referred to as ‘triple bottom line’ (Elkington, 1997), or ‘sustainability’ reporting (Global Reporting Initiative, 2000). The movement towards integrating these issues in reporting is evidenced by the publication of more comprehensive corporate sustainability reports supported by guidelines such as those of the Global Reporting Initiative (2006). However, there remains concern about the limited adoption of integrated reporting, the completeness and credibility of these reports (Adams, 2004) and the motives of managers preparing them (O’Dwyer, 2002 and O’Dwyer, 2003). Given that many researchers in the field of sustainability reporting are motivated by a desire to see improvement in the sustainability performance of organisations (Adams & Larrinaga González, 2007) there has been surprisingly little research into sustainability reporting processes and the extent to which data collected is used in decision-making within organisations. Instead, assumptions have been made about corporate motives and processes from an examination of corporate disclosures, often without reference to the broader social, political and economic context in which those disclosures are made. Responding to calls for more research which engages with reporting organisations (Adams, 2002; Adams & Larrinaga González, 2007; Parker, 2005), this study sheds light on the extent to which sustainability accounting and reporting functions are integrated into the planning, performance management and risk management operations of organisations. Specifically it considers: how organisations are developing and refining key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarking various aspects of performance; and, how sustainability KPIs are being utilised to influence management decisions. Our study involved interviews with personnel from three Australian and four British organisations that are known for best practice reporting or management on aspects of ethical, social, environmental and economic issues. It contributes to the prior literature by revealing the diversity in: internal processes; the mode of integration into decision-making; and, the focus of reporting and data collection.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We found a considerable diversity across our sample in their approach to KPI selection, sustainability reporting, sustainability reporting processes and their incorporation into aspects of decision-making impacting on sustainability performance. There was some similarity in the issues of concern across organisations in the same sector. Four of the seven companies studied were in high environmental impact organisations (the forestry and three utility companies) and had a strong focus on environmental issues. However, there was considerable diversity in approach and breadth of issues tackled, even between the two utility companies in the same country. The two banks rely on the corporate social responsibility reputation to attract and retain customers and staff and, whilst this was a focus, their approaches were different, one formal and one informal. To a lesser extent the telecommunications company's success is also dependent on public perceptions of its role in society in an industry which is competitive with respect to corporate social responsibility reputation. The diversity in approach reflects the fact that the sample companies came to managing and reporting on their sustainability performance for a range of different reasons all primarily stemming from a business case rather than a moral stance. There were a number of indicators that the strength of the business case was perceived differently across the organisations. Control of the sustainability reporting process rested with a diverse range of corporate functions, with different core priorities: corporate affairs, corporate communications, corporate social responsibility or sustainability/environment personnel or a combination of these. The number of staff involved in the process, varied considerably. Processes for developing KPIs varied from informal and ad hoc to highly formalised. The issues companies faced in KPI development also varied including: adaptations for different geographical regions and cultures; development of social and economic indicators, which lagged that for environmental indicators; developing targets; benchmarking; and, comparability and consistency across reporting regions. The extent and means by which KPIs were incorporated into decision-making and performance measurement also varied along with the aspects of decision-making that were being emphasised. Whilst pressures to produce a sustainability report were not the key driver to address corporate social responsibility issues for all of the companies, the process of developing KPIs for the purposes of sustainability reporting has focussed attention on social and environmental performance. The desire to report data externally has led to developments in data collection systems and the integration of social and environmental performance data into decision-making, risk management and performance measurement. It was not the purpose of this study to review performance to determine the extent to which it had changed, but to examine how social and environmental information is used in decision-making and performance management. As with external sustainability reporting, internal systems may be at different stages of development. Industries traditionally associated with adverse environmental impact have extended histories in reporting environmental information (Guthrie & Parker, 1989) and also in the development of guidelines to assist environmental management. The external operating environment has provided considerable explanatory power as to variations in this level of response. There is however evidence of internal factors that may drive the initiation of sustainability management and provide insights into variations in the extent to which organisations integrate on sustainability issues into their business (see also Adams, 2002). The diversity of approaches found in this study is reflective of organisations realising a growing need to engage with sustainability issues, but without some common point of reference in terms of issues to be managed or a common development framework. What is clear is that the development of integrated sustainability reporting and management is not ‘green field’, it is influenced and constrained by existing processes, indeed for a number of the case organisations development is contained within existing processes. The question may then relate to the capacity of organisations, or their ability to build capacity, to develop integrated systems. The study also highlights a profusion of alternate triggers for prioritising sustainability, from regulatory requirements, improved external reporting processes to embedding an existing culture. The study has captured organisations, not only with different processes but also at different stages of development of integrated sustainability performance management. Whilst there have been prior attempts at modelling different stages of development within organisations with respect to external reporting and engagement (e.g. Elkington, 1993), they have provided limited insight into the stages in the development of integrated sustainability management and reporting. Our data provides some evidence that accountability to stakeholders is compromised where it was perceived that data did not reflect positively on the organisation. This, and the self-interest apparent from the concern for the business case, indicates that governments need to find means of encouraging greater accountability. Despite being driven by the business case rather than a concern with accountability to stakeholders, our research points to a link between sustainability reporting and organisational change aimed at improving sustainability performance for our sample organisations. This suggests that a focus by governments on improving accountability would result in changes being implemented which could lead to improved performance. Our research adds to our knowledge of the extent and manner in which social and environmental data is used in decision-making. Due to the exploratory and qualitative nature of our study our sample was limited and further research is required to examine these links and employ theoretical perspectives to explain these links, the change process and the impact on performance. Particular attention might be paid to the location and reach of the sustainability reporting function within the organisation and the degree of formality versus informality in the data collection, reporting and performance management processes. This might be done through an in depth action research approach (see Adams & McNicholas, 2007) or an ethnographic approach (see Dey, 2007) using elements of institutional and/or organisational theory (see Adams & Larrinaga González, 2007).