Sustainability reporting - more global than local?

Sashika Abeydeera, Helen Tregidga, Kate Kearins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – In recognition of the potential for Buddhism to advance sustainability, this paper investigates whether Buddhism appears to be informing the sustainability practices of corporations within a particular national context. Corporate sustainability reports are utilised as a site of analysis.

Design/methodology/approach – Sixteen corporate sustainability reports from a set of sustainability award-winning corporations in Sri Lanka, a country with a strong Buddhist presence, are analysed. Evidence of Buddhist principles and values related to sustainability is sought in order to ascertain the extent to which Buddhism is evident in disclosures within the reports. The influence of global institutions is also considered.

Findings – The analysis reveals surprisingly little evidence of Buddhist principles and values in the corporate sustainability reports of these award-winning corporations. Sustainability reporting practices are revealed to be highly institutionalised by global influences, with the majority of the reports examined explicitly embracing global standardisation. The standardisation of corporate sustainability reporting through the pursuit of globally accepted reporting frameworks is argued to have caused a disconnect between Buddhism as a prevalent institutional force in the local culture and context and the corporate representations evident in such reporting. Potential consequences of this disconnect in relation to the ability for Buddhism to inform sustainability practices at the organisational level are considered.

Originality/value – The paper contributes to the literature on corporate sustainability reporting through considering whether local cultural context is represented within such reports and possible reasons and consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-504
Number of pages27
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2016

Cite this