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Write a research proposal on environmental accounting and reporting – an analysis of energy sector in India?
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The significance of environmental accounting has increased because of an increase in the level of environmental problems and technological developments. For the sustainable development of an organisation, environmental accounting is required (Senol & Ozcelik, 2012). The essence of environmental accounting is if a business takes its resources from the environment, it becomes its responsibility to pay back by taking initiatives for the environment protection and disclosing them in their annual reports (Kundra, 2013). In global economics, also, environmental problems have become an important topic. This is evident from the development of various environmental laws and guidelines which have been developed for environmental protection and sustainable development. Responsibility of a company towards the environment is very important for its sustainability (Dina, 2016). There is a need to maintain a balance between development and environmental protection. The assessment of the environmental costs and benefits is necessary to find the limit of environmental damage and the level of development. But without environmental accounting and reporting, it cannot be determined whether the company has been fulfilling its responsibility towards the environment or not. (Sharma, 2012). The aim of environmental accounting is to attain sustainable development, to keep the relationships which are for the benefit of society and to pursue green initiatives with effectiveness and efficiency. The importance of an organisation’s initiatives can be judged from the environmental performance score. Environmental accounting helps in measuring the efforts taken by an organisation for protecting the environment, and it provides information to the stakeholders also. (Dina, 2016) Environmental accounting and reporting communicate the impact of an organisation’s actions on the environment. Environmental reporting can be in the form of monetary or non-monetary (Chaklader, 2015).
The energy sector has played an important role in the development of the global economy, but the dependence on this sector has its cost also. The extraction of fuels, its refinement and transportation have an adverse impact on the environment. Similarly, its ultimate consumption also has an environmental burden. (Connors, n.d.)
The proposed study will be conducted to measure the efforts of companies in the energy sector in protecting the environment. For the purpose of the study, the energy sector index listed on National Stock Exchange will be selected. On the basis of the environment disclosure index (EDI), content analysis of annual reports and environmental reports will be done, and conclusions will be drawn.
A brief review of a few pieces of research conducted in the area of environmental accounting and reporting is as follows:
(Kundra, 2013) provided an insight into the scenario of green initiatives in the Indian context. It also discussed how Indian companies report such issues – whether in their annual report or on their website or through some other measures. The sample consisted of Nifty companies, and content analysis was used. The result revealed that companies operating in India are taking green initiatives and reporting them as well. They make it a point that if their process could not contribute anything to the environment, it should not even harm it.
(Ramesh, 2013) analysed the disclosure practices of Indian companies to evaluate their environmental performance. A sample of 25 companies was taken. The result revealed that companies focus on non-financial information, and financial information is hardly disclosed by any company.