Sustainability Transformation of Firms: Managing, Reporting and Accounting for Externalities

  • Typ:Bachelor's thesis
  • Betreuer:

    Niklas Letmathe

  • Zusatzfeld:


  • Companies are under increasing pressure to make their businesses and value chains more sustainable. This transformation requires an adjustment of the company's strategy and collaboration with various stakeholders beyond the company's boundaries. In this paper, we aim to provide a qualitative assessment on how companies perform such a transformation. Specifically, we focus on how companies manage, report and account for externalities on an ecosystem level and firm level within the terminology of sustainability management accounting. In this process, we examine and discuss internal and external drivers, enablers, and barriers that companies encounter during this transformation. To summarize, this research investigates how companies internalize externalities on an ecosystem level and firm level into their (1) business model, (2) accounting and (3) reporting. We conducted 16 semi-structured interviews across industry sectors within the DACH region, as well as some internationally. Subsequently, we analyzed the interviews using the Gioia method. Previous studies listed and ranked enablers and barriers by importance whilst we discuss them within the overall context. Our findings contribute to the theoretical relevance by (1) providing a mapping of the topic at the firm level and ecosystem level (2) examining the status quo of companies (3) and discussing the interplay of activities within and beyond organizations to adapt sustainability management accounting practices.