Biodiversity reporting for governmental organisations: Evidence from English local councils

Silvia Gaia, Michael Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the current nature and content of biodiversity reporting practices adopted by English local councils. By adopting a multi-theoretical framework that relies on economic and social theories such as agency, stakeholder, legitimacy and institutional theories, this study also aims to investigate the factors that explain the extent of biodiversity disclosure provided by local councils.

Design/methodology/approach
This study uses a self-constructed disclosure index to analyse the biodiversity-related information published in the official websites of 351 English local councils. A multivariate analysis was conducted to analyse the association between local councils’ characteristics and biodiversity disclosure.

Findings
This study shows that the information disclosed on local biodiversity is limited and does not allow the interested stakeholders to get a comprehensive picture of the current status of local biodiversity. It also provides evidence that the level of biodiversity disclosure is significantly associated with the level of local council’s population, the presence of councillors from environmentally oriented parties and environmental non-governmental organisations operating in the local council area, poor biodiversity management practices and local councils’ visibility.

Originality/value
This study is one of the few accounting studies that provides a comprehensive analysis of biodiversity disclosure by analysing its nature and content and investigating the factors associated with such disclosure. It extends agency, stakeholder, institutional and legitimacy theories, by showing that local councils use voluntary disclosures to satisfy the informational needs of the main stakeholders and to assure that their strategies and practices conform to the values and expectations of the community they represent.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • England
  • Voluntary disclosure
  • Biodiversity
  • Local councils

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