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When bookkeepers become beekeepers: why bee accountability

Atkins, J., Atkins, B., Barone, E. and Maroun, W. (2014) When bookkeepers become beekeepers: why bee accountability. In: Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research, 27 - 29 August 2014, University of St Andrews, Scotland.

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Accounting for biodiversity has received increasing attention from the academic accounting community in recent years. Despite a stream of research investigating the quality and quantity of biodiversity reporting in general, no academic research has focused on reporting related to one specific species. This paper explores the quality and quantity of corporate disclosures relating to bees. Society is becoming increasingly concerned about the accelerating fall in bee populations around the world. Colony Collapse Disorder has been spreading through global bee populations since 2006, decimating commercial hives. Concerns are fuelled by fears that pollinators may become extinct which would have dire consequences for the majority of world food production, leaving human pollination, at immense cost, the only alternative. On the basis of these fears, companies as well as other organisations, have started to establish programmes aimed at rejuvenating global bee populations. In this paper we explore the bee-related disclosures provided by a large selection of UK listed companies. We assess the extent to which companies believe they have a role to play in enhancing and protecting bee populations. Further we consider whether corporate accountability in this area derives solely from a business case or whether there is a deeper societal connection with bees as a species which is encouraging companies to protect their survival. The paper investigates the historical and philosophical connection between bees and human beings, for example the ways industrial production has been likened to honey production. We draw parallels between bees and human industrial organisation as well as between the role and responsibilities of the bookkeeper and the beekeeper.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:41847
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bees; beekeeper; biodiversity reporting; bookkeeper; corporate bee-related disclosures

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