05 June 2012
RMIT promotes Accounting for Sustainability
Professor Stefan Schaltegger, from Leuphana University, Germany, speaks at the RMIT Accounting for Sustainability Conference.
More than 70 participants from Australian and overseas universities and professional accounting bodies attended the Accounting for Sustainability Conference at RMIT University.
The annual event, which is sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA), provides a forum for accounting researchers and practitioners to discuss accounting and sustainability issues.
The program featured two distinguished plenary speakers, Geraldine Magarey, from the ICAA, and Professor Stefan Schaltegger, from Leuphana University, Germany.
Professor Schaltegger is the Head of the Centre for Sustainability Management at Leuphana University and a professor in Sustainability Management.
He is also a member of the editorial board of 11 scientific journals and has more than 200 publications.
Professor Schaltegger stressed the importance of the business case approach to sustainability, highlighting the value creation opportunities available under a sustainability management mindset.
His presentation identified logical patterns for sustainability accounting research and how this could support accounting practice and sustainable development.
Ms Magarey has more than 20 years of experience in the accounting profession and is currently the Manager of Sustainability and Regional Australia at the ICAA.
She is responsible for leading the Institute’s initiatives around all areas of sustainability and also represents the interests of its members in regional and rural Australia.
Ms Magarey’s presentation focused on what sustainability means for the ICAA internally, externally and educationally.
Research papers from academics across a range of universities were also delivered during concurrent sessions.
Dr Gillian Vesty, RMIT, presented a paper which she co-authored with Abby Telegenkamp from the University of Melbourne.
This paper, titled “Creating Numbers: Carbon and Capital Investment,” uses stories from a water company to show the ways in which carbon emissions were made to become iconic in organisational practices.
“When the carbon price (and therefore electricity costs) becomes central to an organisation's sustainable practices, the intended sustainability philosophy, based on deeper qualitative ideals to better meet environmental and community expectations, are potentially undermined,” Dr Vesty said.
Dr Vesty is currently working on a project as part of the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Project with CPA Australia and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).