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Title: An empirical analysis of environmental externalities incidence on financial performance
Author: Antonini, Carla
Director: Argilés Bosch, Josep M.
Valls Pasola, Jaume
Keywords: Medi ambient
Desenvolupament sostenible
Sistemes agrícoles
Consum d'energia
Sustainable development
Agricultural systems
Energy consumption
Issue Date: 22-Jun-2016
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: An increasing body of scientific evidence continues to fuel concerns regarding the effects of economic human activity on the environment. In this call, environmental accounting attempts to increase accounting transparency in order to facilitate environmentally sound decision-making. The main objective of this dissertation is to actively engage in the design and implementation of new ways of integrating environmental and accounting information. To this end, it examines the potential of environmental indicators as a tool for this integration. The use of indicators to estimate variables that cannot be measured precisely has been well documented through the history of environmental sciences and is considered appropriate in accounting where variables cannot be directly observed. This dissertation is made up of three independent articles exploring different aspects of the topic. The first article addresses boundaries setting of environmental indicators for sustainability reporting. The contribution of this study is twofold: (a) it inquires into the methodological foundations of boundary setting for improved sustainability reporting and (b) it explores current corporate practice in this area. This article adopts a survey methodology and performs content analysis on a a sample of 92 sustainability reports from companies included in the 2012 Financial Times Global 500 list. Results show that in our sample reporting boundaries are financially restricted and therefore they do not allow to disclose a complete and inclusive view on entities environmental performance. The second article is related with the use of proxy indicators. Most environmental impact have no available market valuation. A way of assessing the value of environmental impact is the use of something that approaches the measurement of immeasurable variables. The study performs a panel data analysis of environmental costs on a farm accounting database across European regions over the 1989-2009 period. It uses farm output per hectare as an indicator of productivity and expenditures on energy, pesticides and fertilisers per hectare as proxies of environmental costs. Results show decreasing productivity and a significant steady increase in environmental costs across time. The third article uses weighting and aggregation to allow aggregate group of materials with common characteristics. It performs an empirical analysis on the relationship between environmental and economic performance using own collected data from 9 rice farms located in Spain. It uses yields, revenues and incomes as indicators of economic performance. It considers greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption as indicators of environmental performance. It applies the AgriClimateChange Tool software that allows the calculation of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Results show that in the farms under study, the achievement of higher yields is attributable to the greater use of chemical inputs and fossil fuels. The contribution of this thesis is to find empirical evidence suggesting that environmental indicators can be a good way to integrate environmental and accounting information. Overall, results in three chapters included in this thesis suggest that although it is undoubted that companies will not survive without natural resources, unfortunately, there is still a disjunctive perspective between corporation and environmental perspective. The integration of environmental indicators into the accounting framework could help to optimize natural resource usage and, as a consequence, to improve the economy as a whole and, more importantly, ecosystems sustainability.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Comptabilitat

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