Call for papers – The Future of Carbon Accounting, Management & Policy – Emerald

Special issue call for papers from Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

Carbon Accounting,

Guest Editors

  • Professor Delphine GIBASSIER, Toulouse University, Toulouse Business School, France ()
  • Professor Giovanna MICHELON, University of Exeter, UK ( )
  • Professor Mélodie CARTEL, Grenoble School of Management, France ()

Background to the topic

COP 21 closed with a historical agreement on climate change. It acted that climate change is one of the greatest challenges that we are confronted with currently, and confirmed the target of keeping the rise in temperature below 2°C. However, even if climate change was limited to 2°C, consequences for the humanity and the planet would not be trivial. For example, up to 600 millions more people could suffer from hunger before 2080 due to climate change (UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008). Indeed, a rise of 2°C is considered “the most the Earth could tolerate without risking catastrophic changes to food production, sea levels, fishing, wildlife, deserts and water reserves” (The Guardian, October 10th 2015). Climate change bears risks to companies (for example Rio Tinto in 2011 had his earnings drop by $ 245 million because of weather conditions affecting its production and supply chain), but could also lead to huge opportunities for innovation.

Limiting climate change to 2°C calls for revising the fundamental assumptions our societies build on. Organizing such a transition requires coordinated multi-scale action involving a wide range of organizations: private corporations, industries, public bodies and society at large.  A key variable in our capacity to organize a low carbon transition is our ability to measure and account for carbon emissions. To take action and follow their progress, organizations need clear and actionable information. A wide range of carbon accounting tools and standards are currently being developed, accompanied by a proliferation of information. While carbon accounting tools are competing for legitimacy, their actual effects on organization’s ability to transform their behaviours are still to be determined.

What the special issue is about?

Within this context, we call for research aimed to further explore how organizations, society at large and public entities engage with carbon accounting, management and policy issues. Climate change is directly and indirectly already impacting organizations. Customers are requesting information on products’ impact, the supply chain of many industries have to be re-organized to include climate change risk. Governance, forecasting, decision-making and planning are all being affected by climate change. We need to tackle climate change and carbon accounting along new directions and on different scales: individuals (new professions), organizations (marketing and carbon accounting), field (the role of Big 4 in carbon accounting), globally (national carbon accounting, planet boundaries).

We invite empirical submissions drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives and diverse methodologies. While not representing an exhaustive list, the following topic areas highlight exemplary questions and research themes:

Carbon management & accounting:

  • Use of carbon accounting within marketing
  • Use of carbon accounting by other organizational functions
  • Carbon accounting and innovation (managerial and technological)
  • Carbon accounting and inter-organizational exploration partnerships
  • Collaboration on carbon accounting in the supply chain (e.g. with CDP supply chain data
  • Carbon accounting interaction with biodiversity, water, waste etc.
  • Adaptation and carbon accounting
  • “Science-based” climate change targets

The development of carbon accountings:

  • Competition between different carbon accountings (e.g. bilan carbon v. GHG protocol)
  • The link between national, territorial and organizational carbon accounting
  • The link between carbon accounting and planet boundaries
  • The new “carbon neutral” standard
  • The interaction between natural capital accounting and carbon accounting (or reporting)

Politics of carbon accounting:

  • Lobbying for carbon accounting standards (or against)
  • Lobbying for carbon accounting reputation
  • Carbon accounting rankings
  • Competition between the standard setters
  • MNEs lobbying groups (“We Mean Business”) and competition between them
  • The “divestment” movement
  • The lobbying behind carbon price by MNEs and groups representing them

Climate change and field change:

  • Carbon accounting professionals (quantifiers, verifiers, traders, carbon accountants, others)
  • Carbon accounting and the Big 4
  • Carbon offset accounting development

Carbon reporting & disclosures:

  • Hypocrisy and carbon reporting
  • Carbon accounting/reporting & NGOs
  • Cities and carbon accounting/reporting
  • Carbon accounting in organizational discourses (e.g. in investor presentations)

Carbon disclosure in the social media

  • The interaction between integrated reporting and carbon reporting
  • The role of the CDP in the ranking/reporting word


  • Carbon accounting and the army
  • Corporate fraud and carbon accounting
  • Crime organizations and carbon accounting
  • Education to carbon accounting

Submissions and deadlines

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