Social Environmental Accounting and Accountability - A preparer’s perspective on the relationship between the accountor and the accountee within the food industry in Sweden
Abstract: Title: Social Environmental Accounting and Accountability - a preparer’s perspective on the relationship between the accountor and the accountee within the food industry in Sweden Seminar date: 2014-06-02 Course: BUSN69 Degree Project - Accounting & Auditing Authors: Ola Nordahl & Alexander Chiem Advisors: Karin Jonnergård & Amanda Tan Sonnerfeldt Five key words: Sustainability reporting, SEA, CSR, Accountability, Food Industry Purpose: To provide insight into the concept of accountability from a preparer’s perspective by examining how the main aspects of SEA contributes to accountability between the accountee and the accountor within the food industry in Sweden. Methodology: A qualitative and exploratory case study of the food industry in Sweden consisting of six semi-structured interviews. Theoretical perspective: Legitimacy and stakeholder theory are commonly used to explain the relationship between organizations and their environment in terms of accountability. We view these theories and the theoretical construct of SEA, from a preparer’s perspective, to shed light on the concept of accountability. Empirical foundation: The data collection consists of information from interviews with four companies within the food sector, one food industry association and one sustainability reporting entrepreneur. Conclusions: Creating accountability is a motive behind SEA and explained by legitimacy and stakeholder aspects. Motives outside the concept of accountability might however also exist. Stakeholder dialogues are essential in order to establish accountability, although the efficiency of the dialogues is questioned. Both the public and specific stakeholders are perceived to be recipients of SEA, which implies that a perceived accountability exists towards both. Understandability of the SEA is important, which might broaden the concept of accountability. A responsive approach to accountability is present whereas preparers see a certain level of subjectivity within SEA as natural.
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