Management Accounting and Sustainability (Nachhaltigkeit)
Management accounting can support sustainability (“Nachhaltigkeit”) in several ways. In this final thesis project, you will investigate the relationship between management accounting and external reporting on sustainability. Stakeholders groups such as governments, consumers, investors, and NGOs put pressure on companies to be more transparent about their environmental, economic, and social impacts. As a result, many companies publish a sustainability report, also known as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental, social, and governance (ESG) report. Various frameworks and standards for such reports have been developed by several organizations, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standard Boards (SASB), the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), or the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).
Against this background, this final thesis project addresses the role management accounting for CSR reporting. Possible research questions include, but are not limited to: How does management accounting support CSR reporting, such as by providing data and detailed analyses? Which information do decision makers in the organization need for managing environmental, economic and social impacts? Which limitations does management accounting create for CSR reporting? Which improvements in management would enable improved CSR reporting?
The idea of this project is that you start with an initial literature search on CSR reporting to get an overview of the topic, followed by a more comprehensive analysis of the literature at the intersection of CSR and management accounting. You will identify and synthesize conceptual and empirical studies on this topic, which may be based on a broad range of research methods. Finally, and this is the most important part, you develop a framework with testable propositions about the role of management accounting and CSR reporting. The creative and interesting challenge is to not simply summarize the studies, but to discover some thought-provoking issues, develop your own ideas, and come up with stimulating possibilities for future research inquiries.