Sustainability accounting reporting: single or double materiality - a thematic analysis

Project: Unfunded project

Project Details


For decades the accounting profession, regulatory bodies and most business schools have prevaricated on climate change. Now, with the strong likelihood of 1m sea level rise before the end of the century (and possibly eventually up to 7m once Greenland ice sheet melts!) urgent reform is needed. Bold leadership and revolutionary thinking needs to put climate change risk and firm impacts at the centre of company evaluation, education and business school curricula. However, contention turns on whether to adopt single or double materiality. Single materiality limits the scope of sustainable accounting standards to investor perspective. Essentially tweaking the status quo, naturally favoured by vested interests. To date, the single materiality approach has failed to cut carbon emissions. Double materiality considers actual critical impacts on the environment for a broad span of stakeholders. Its adoption would be a paradigm shift but might be necessary if the World is to actually cut its carbon production gap or discrepancy between promises and action. At stake is neoliberal capitalist ideology and firm regulatory regime.

Layman's description

How can we ensure companies produce trustworthy reports on the full spectrum of their environmental impacts so they pay their fair share of tax?

Key findings

Double materiality in accounting standards is essential to substantively reform capitalism so it is fit for 21 century purpose and we 'walk the talk' rather than more prevarication and obfuscation or what the hubris-inimical Greta Thunberg characterises as, 'blah, blah, blah'.
Short titleSustainability accounting and reporting
Effective start/end date11/10/2131/12/23


  • sustainability
  • Climate Justice
  • climate change
  • responsibility
  • trust
  • accounting profession
  • sustainable accounting
  • tax evasion
  • externalities
  • vested interests


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