Academics call for social and environmental reporting penalties

Responding to proposals in the Company Law Review they claim the Accounting Standards Board is too close to major companies and the Big Five firms to be able to draft the detail of what should be included in social and environmental reports.

Professors Carol Adams and Rob Gray have now written to the Department of Trade and Industry proposing that a new body be created to handle drafting reporting rules and that it should be advised by the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability.

Their letter says: ‘We would strongly favour the rules on reporting which are developed by the delegated body having legal force backed by criminal penalties.

‘This is vital to avoid situations in which companies do not report at all without any apparent recognition of this by the auditors.’

However, Kim Howells, the DTI minister recently given responsibility for corporate social responsibility, has said he does see his job as introducing more regulation for business.

Gerry Acher, a KPMG partner serving on a government working group looking at green reporting, has also said he does not believe business should face ‘draconian’ measures forcing them to adopt environmental reporting.

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