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Publication - Professor Michael Jones

    UK local councils reporting of biodiversity values

    a stakeholder perspective

    Citation

    Gaia, S & Jones, M, 2017, ‘UK local councils reporting of biodiversity values: a stakeholder perspective’. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, vol 30., pp. 1614-1638

    Abstract

    Purpose
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of narratives in biodiversity reports as a mechanism to raise the awareness of biodiversity’s importance. By classifying biodiversity narratives into 14 categories of biodiversity values this paper investigates whether the explanations for biodiversity conservation used by UK local councils are line with shallow, intermediate or deep philosophies.

    Design/methodology/approach
    This study used content analysis to examine the disclosures on biodiversity’s importance in the biodiversity action plans published by UK local councils. The narratives were first identified and then allocated into 14 categories of biodiversity value. Then, they were ascribed to either shallow (resource conservation, human welfare ecology and preservationism), intermediate (environmental stewardship and moral extensionism) or deep philosophies.

    Findings
    UK local councils explained biodiversity’s importance mainly in terms of its instrumental value, in line with shallow philosophies such as human welfare ecology and resource conservation. UK local councils sought to raise awareness of biodiversity’ importance by highlighting values that are important for the stakeholders that are able to contribute towards biodiversity conservation such as landowners, residents, visitors, business and industries. The authors also found that local councils’ biodiversity strategies were strongly influenced by 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.

    Originality/value
    This paper is one of the few accounting studies that engages with the literature on environmental ethics to investigate biodiversity. In line with stakeholder theory, it indicates that explanations on biodiversity’s importance based on anthropocentric philosophies are considered more effective in informing those stakeholders whose behaviour needs to be changed to improve biodiversity conservation.

    Full details in the University publications repository