Navigating sustainability challenges: accounting for resilience

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Building a more resilient society will need to go hand in hand with a renewed pledge to action on sustainability. In such situations, strategies for accountability must work at multiple sites and levels (Bebbington and Unerman, 2018). Academic scholars have called for increasing sustainability research as an opportunity to redefine and re-focus current research in accounting (Bebbington and Unerman, 2020). Previous research on sustainability accounting has explored the complex dynamics between various organisational functions and roles as they engage in the attempt to embed 'more sustainability' in the day-to-day operations (Dey, 2007; Laine, 2009; Adams and Whelan, 2009; Contrafatto, 2014; Spence and Rinaldi, 2014). For example, management control literature has highlighted various approaches that enable the integration of sustainability in business operations. These include sustainability performance systems (Bonacchi and Rinaldi, 2007), environmental management accounting (Gibassier and Alcouffe, 2018), greenhouse gas management accounting (Gibassier and Schaltegger, 2015), planetary boundaries assessment (Schaltegger, 2018; Whiteman, Walker, and Perego, 20130). However, it is unclear which of these approaches—or combinations thereof—have proven effective in facilitating long-term organisational resilience consistent with sustainable development. The research aims to provide insights into how measurement, analysis, and interpretation of accounting information for decision making are involved in the combined imperatives of sustainability and resilience. Drawing on a comparative case study of two organisations operating in the garment industry, this research unveils how organisations develop measures of product and supply chain impacts, identifying the major institutional and organisational building blocks of existing approaches to sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 2024
Event34th International Congress on Social and Environmental Accounting Research - University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Aug 202429 Aug 2024


Conference34th International Congress on Social and Environmental Accounting Research
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CitySt Andrews
Internet address


  • Resilience
  • critical accounting

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