Sustainability Accounting Seminar

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A deep or shallow ecological approach to biodiversity reporting: A longitudinal case study of the New Zealand Department of Conservation

19 September at 1.00pm, Wednesday

Venue: MSB 4.02. Waikato University. Gate 10 off Silverdale Road, Hamilton

Seminar presenter is Grant Samkin

He intends to challenge some of our perspectives concerning sustainability accounting and reporting.

The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent of biodiversity reporting by the Department of Conservation (DOC) in terms of the nature of the information and second, establish whether a deep, intermediate or shallow ecological approach to biodiversity conservation can be inferred from annual report disclosures.

This paper uses a longitudinal single case study of the Department of Conservation (DOC) spanning the period from its establishment in 1987 to 2010. Using a deep, intermediate and shallow ecology taxonomy the study involves a detailed examination of the biodiversity disclosures over a 23 year period. Within the annual reports, biodiversity-related text units were identified and allocated to one of three major categories and then into one of 13 subcategories. Once categorised, text units were coded according to their underlying ecological focus as deep, intermediate or shallow perspective.

The study found that after initially decreasing biodiversity related disclosures showed an increasing trend. The variations in the level of disclosures were directly related to changes in DOC’s reporting environment. The greatest incremental increase in disclosures occurred between 1999 and 2000 which coincided with the introduction of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. The majority of disclosures were found to have a deep ecological focus. The study found that the legislative underpinning of DOC requiring the organisation to protect, preserve and reverse biodiversity loss, while at the same time ensuring present and future generations of New Zealanders benefit from the conservation estate, reflects a deep/shallow ecological tension which is evident in a number of disclosures.

Although biodiversity has been the focus of many areas of study, its consideration in accounting discipline and literature is limited. This longitudinal study of a public benefit entity contributes to the limited biodiversity reporting literature.

 

 

 

 



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