Social and Environmental Accounting   
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 Social and Environmental Accounting

Coursework Briefing

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2020/21 (individual, written)

Coursework information


Course Code  ACCFIN5056
Course Title Social and Environmental Accounting   
Course Coordinator  Sisi Zou
 Coursework format  Individual Assignment
Weighting  20%
Word limit


 1,500 words maximum, excluding the citations or reference list, but including in-essay references. State the word count on the front cover. Provide a bibliography at the end of your  essay.
Action to be taken if word limit is exceeded We will not read beyond the word limit but we will apply a penalty, e.g. one secondary band

from B3 to C1.

Submission date  Friday 12 February 2021, 12pm noon




Background and context:


‘For a definition of social responsibility to fully address the entire range of obligations business has to society, it must embody the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary categories of business performance.’ (Carrol, 1979, p. 499)


Social and environmental accounting takes many forms and there is no universal definition. It has been defined by Gray et al. (1987, p. ix) as ‘…the process of communicating the social and environmental effects of organisations’ economic actions to particular interest groups within society and to society at large. As such, it involves extending the accountability of organisations (particularly companies), beyond the traditional role of providing a financial account to the owners of capital, in particular, shareholders. Such extension is predicated upon the assumption that companies do have wider responsibilities than simply to make money for their shareholders’[1].




  1. Critically compare and contrast different definitions of corporate social responsibility expressed in the literature and assess their relevance for corporations operating in today’s global context.
  2. Social and environmental accounting research draws attention to a variety of social and environmental issues and sustainability concerns in relation to organisations’ activities. These issues include human rights, poverty, corruption, climate change, biodiversity, pollution and others. Select two issues and critically discuss how such social and environmental issues and sustainability concerns have been addressed in the literature.


Your essay should draw upon relevant literature, including academic articles and professional publications. Recommended references are listed below to facilitate your search of further relevant literature.


Carroll, A.B. (1979), “A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Social Performance”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 4, No.4, pp.497-505.


Carroll, A. and Shabana, K., (2010), “The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice”, International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.85-105.


Gray, R. (2010), “Is accounting for sustainability actually accounting for sustainability…and how would we know? An exploration of narratives of organisations and the planet”, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 47-62.


Parker, L.D. (2005), “Social and environmental accountability research: A view from the commentary box”, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 842-860.



Intended Learning Outcomes being assessed


This assessment is set in order to test the following ILO:


1.Critically analyse nature and foundations of corporate social responsibility and accountability.


2.Explain what is meant by social and environmental accounting, accounting for sustainability, and socially responsible investment, critically assess the potential of each.


4.Explain and evaluate competing explanations of social and environmental accounting and sustainability reporting practice.


Assessment criteria


Structure              o Clear introduction that provides overview of the essay and sets out the aims and approach

  • Development and logical progression through the material o Logical conclusions that relate to and stem from previous discussion


Content                o Critically compare and contrast different definitions of corporate social responsibility. o Critically evaluate how a range of social and environmental issues and sustainability concerns have been addressed in the literature.

  • Evidence of personal views besides the literature content


Literature              o Identification and use of relevant literature

  • Breadth of reading o Correct citation


Presentation        o Style and quality of written communication.

  • Good essay structure including clarity and conciseness.


Word count Essay within 1,500 words. If not, we will not read beyond the word limit but will apply a penalty, e.g. one secondary band from B3 to C1.

Feedback method

Individual feedback will normally be provided via Moodle. Generic (class-level) feedback and grade profiles will normally be posted on Moodle.

Students can use academic staff office hours for additional feedback on your work.

Preparing your coursework

Document creation          

  1. Please use this file naming convention: e.g.

7299019_ACCFIN5056_1. If there is no question choice, use 1 as the default.

  1. The file type must be .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx or .pdf.
  2. Complete the cover sheet provided in the course Moodle: you must input your student ID (number only, excluding the first letter of your second name) and date.
  3. Include your student ID in your document, ideally in the header on each page with the course code and title, e.g. 2489545_ACCFIN5056_SEA.
  4. The maximum file size limit on Moodle is 230MB



You won’t be penalised if you don’t follow this good practice on formatting, but it will help your markers.

  • Use a Sans Serif font in black, e.g. Arial, Avant Garde, Calibri, Helvetica and Geneva.
  • Use font size 12.
  • Use 1.5 or double line spacing.
  • Align your text to the left margin.
  • Add page numbers.


Referencing and bibliography      

You should reference your sources appropriately and list these in a bibliography. The bibliography is excluded from your word limit. You should use the ‘Harvard’ referencing system, as detailed below for written coursework.

In the text, use the following referencing conventions:

  • Smith (1999) argues that…. or
  • It has been argued that……. (Smith, 1999).
  • If you use a direct quote, use quotation marks and cite the page number as well as the       author and date, i.e. (Smith, 1999, p. 4).
  • If you have two items by the same author in the same year, refer to one as ‘a’ and the other as ‘b’, i.e. Smith (1999a) and Smith (1999b).


For more information, please refer to the University Library webpage.

Student conduct


You must adhere to the University’s rules regarding plagiarism which are based on the premise that ‘all work submitted by students for assessment is accepted on the understanding that it is the          student’s own effort’. More specifically, you must avoid plagiarism in the following forms:

  • Copying from sources without ‘formal and proper acknowledgement’
  • Inappropriate collaboration – working with other students to produce individual coursework       or copying work produced by another student
  • Submitting work which you have obtained from another source, e.g. an essay mill
  • Self-plagiarism – basing coursework on work that has already been submitted for assessment purposes.

For advice and more information, please consult:



Note that your coursework will be processed through Turnitin for similarity checking. You can submit a draft of your coursework to Turnitin before submitting your final copy. You will find information about using Turnitin in the Student Information Point Moodle.

Submitting your coursework

You must submit in accordance with the stated time and date on page 1. See below for information if you are unable to do so.

Finalizing your document     

Please follow the steps listed below:


  1. Complete the cover sheet, including the word count and the question answered.
  2. Check your spelling and grammar using the inbuilt tool on your device. You will not be penalised for grammatical and spelling errors but we recommend that you take the

               opportunity to correct them.

  1. Check your file name (see above).
  2. Check that you have used an accepted file type (see above).
  3. Do not include your name in the file name or the document to support anonymous marking.


Uploading your document to Moodle         

  1. You will upload your document to the designated section of the Moodle course, which will be clearly signposted.
  2. Try to upload your document at least 30 minutes before the deadline (page 1) in case you encounter any technical issues. You will be able to resubmit the document as often as you

               like until the submission deadline.

  1. Complete the Declaration of Originality (see below).


Declaration of Originality            

When you upload your coursework on Moodle, you will be required to select a checkbox to confirm that you agree with the University’s Declaration of Originality which applies to all academic work, as follows.


I conf    irm that this assignment is my own work and I have:

  • Read and understood the guidance on plagiarism provided on the Student Information Point Moodle course including the University of Glasgow Statement on Plagiarism.


  • Clearly referenced, in both the text and the bibliography or references, all sources used in the work.
  • Fully referenced (including page numbers) and used inverted commas for all text quoted

               from books, journals, web etc.

  • Provided the sources for all tables, figures, data etc. that are not my own work.
  • Not made use of the work of any other student(s) past or present without acknowledgement.

This includes any of my own work, that has previously, or concurrently, been submitted for assessment, either at this or any other institution, including school.

  • Not sought or used the services of any professional agencies to produce this work.
  • In addition, I understand that any false claim in respect of this work will result in disciplinary action in accordance with University regulations.


Extensions and non-submission with good cause

Please refer to the Student Information Point Moodle for relevant information.

Late submission penalties     

In the absence of good cause, late submission penalties will be applied as explained in Student Information Point Moodle.


If you have any questions about this coursework briefing, please read it carefully again to ensure you fully understand it. If you still have questions, please post these on the Moodle Discussion Forum. Personal questions only can be sent to


[1] Gray, R., Owen, D. and Maunders, K.T., (1987), Corporate Social Reporting: Accounting and Accountability, Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

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