Exploring the implementation of an accounting and engagement framework for extinction prevention

Lead supervisor: Professor Jill Atkins, Management School
Co-supervisor(s): Dr Robert McKay, English

Deadline: Thursday 23 March 2017

Application form

Please note: in the online application process please select ‘standard PhD’ not DTC option, and ‘Management School’ as the department. Your application for this studentship should be accompanied by a CV and a 200 word supporting statement. Your statement should outline your aspirations and motivation for studying in the Grantham Centre, outlining any relevant experience.

About the Grantham Centre

Project description

Our world is experiencing a sixth period of mass species extinction. Corporate activities play a large part in causing species extinction. Business has a responsibility to protect endangered species affected by their activities. Without corporate ‘buy in’ to extinction prevention, current trends will continue. King with Atkins (2016) proposes an extinction accounting framework. This PhD project will explore practical implementation of the extinction accounting framework. The scholar will interview an extensive sample of companies, accountants, auditors, wildlife NGOs and responsible investors to explore ways in which animals and other species are ‘valued’, financially, materially, ethically, morally and culturally. The research should also lead to policy recommendations for the adoption of the extinction accounting framework by companies, responsible investors and NGOs. This cross-disciplinary approach should lead to rich insights into extinction and extinction prevention encapsulating personal, corporate and cultural perceptions of extinction and its impact on people and planet.

Our world is experiencing a sixth period of mass species extinction. Current extinctions are due to climate change, global warming, loss of habitat, pesticide use, poor land management. Corporate activities play a large part in causing species extinction. Business has a responsibility to protect endangered species affected by their activities. Without corporate ‘buy in’ to extinction prevention, current trends will continue. Academic accounting research has explored frameworks for corporate reporting on the environment, natural capital and biodiversity for some decades. Strong links have been found between corporate reporting and corporate action, with accounting characterised by an emancipatory, transformational potential. King with Atkins (2016) proposes an extinction accounting framework. This proactive form of corporate reporting is necessary if extinctions are to be prevented.

This PhD project will explore practical implementation of the extinction accounting framework. The scholar will adopt a grounded theory approach and will interview an extensive sample of companies, accountants, auditors, wildlife NGOs and responsible investors to explore ways in which animals and other species are ‘valued’, financially, materially, ethically, morally and culturally, drawing on research in humanities, critical literary analysis and accounting. The research should also lead to policy recommendations for the adoption of the extinction accounting framework by companies, responsible investors and NGOs. Insights from literary analysis will assist in defining the most appropriate and effective form of narrative corporate reporting on extinction. This cross-disciplinary approach should lead to rich insights into extinction and extinction prevention encapsulating personal, corporate and cultural perceptions of extinction and its impact on people and planet.

Keywords: biodiversity, extinction, climate change, sustainability reporting, integrated reporting, corporate social responsibility

Subject areas: Ecology and Conservation, Accounting and Financial Management, Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility, English Language and Literature and Literary Criticism, Geography, Zoology and Animal Science, Climatology and Climate Change, Environmental Economics

Funding notes

This four-year studentship will be fully funded at Home/EU or international rates. Support for travel and consumables (RTSG) will also be made available at standard rate of £2,627 per annum, with an additional one-off allowance of £1,000 for a computer in the first year.  Students will receive an annual stipend of £17,336.