Sustainability Reporting in Big Oil and Big Mining: Refining what lies beyond Audit Cultures

  • Wed 22 May 24

    12:00 - 13:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Paul Kelly

Join colleagues from the Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) and Centre for Work, Organisation and Society (CWOS) as they present their work on sustainability reporting and audit culture.

Seminar abstract

In this seminar we wish to emphasise the utility, and limits, of applying Audit Culture (AC) lenses to empirical domains, in our case the domain of Sustainability Reporting (SR). We look specifically at SR done by oil and mining multi-national corporations (MNCs). Such MNCs, despite calls for change, have continued to profit at the expense of the environment, workers, and communities. By the 1990s, one counter pressure on MNCs grew in popularity – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with SR following. We argue such SR does not centre responsible business, environmental change, societal wellbeing, or scientific solutions. We develop a multi-dimensional framework to explore if and how AC principles can explain and account for SR strategies. Framework dimensions include an organisation centric focus on comfort and safety, business strategy and risk mitigation, with a related elision of other stakeholder strategies, lifeworlds, knowledge, and controls. We use this framework to perform a content analysis of SR from the 2021-2023 period, sampling oil and mining sector MNCs. In this seminar we will share key aspects of our literature focus, theoretical framework, methodology, and emerging findings, such as how certain AC dimensions are prominent, and how non-audit logics (e.g. racial, modernist and paternal discourses) also contribute to regional SR strategies. We hope this contributes to encouraging researchers, civil society, government, and industry professionals involved with SR to go beyond myopic and damaging cultures of audit as power and control, and towards audit as engagement, empowerment of others, and reflection. Our study is valuable for researchers interested in SR as a form of control, and those in accounting, management, and organisation studies fields, as well as broader groups of professionals, activists, and citizens who not only wish to question SR norms, but generate alternatives such as our framework.


How to attend this seminar

We welcome you to join us on Wednesday 22 May 2024 at 12pm in EBS.2.41, Essex Business School Building, Colchester campus.

This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.

Can't make it in person?

This seminar will also be available to watch live online.

Speakers bios

Dr Paul Kelly

Dr Paul R Kelly specialises in the socio-digital wiring, innovations, gaps, silences and inequalities associated with contemporary information systems, and circulations of digital data and expert knowledge. He focuses on data and knowledge management, impact evaluation and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), in areas such as global development, non-government organisations (NGOs), and organisations in other sectors more generally.

Paul has published at top tier journals and conferences such as the Information Systems Journal (ISJ), Organisation Studies (OS), the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), and the European Group for Organisation Studies Conference (EGOS). He obtained his PhD at the UK Research Council funded HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training at Lancaster University in 2019. His doctoral thesis looked at how data, knowledge, power, politics and participation are mutually entangled in globally distributed development sector impact evaluation practices.

Paul’s has over 20 years’ experience in the development sector and the education sector. He has worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the British Council, and universities in the UK, Australia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. He has also collaborated with non-government and not-for-profit organisations who work in various countries, including Laos, Thailand, UK, Nigeria, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda.

In the 2000s, Paul managed enterprise wide technology projects and services for e-learning and web communications at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). More recently, he has researched participatory governance and helped set up a knowledge platform for Australian aid programs to Papua New Guinea, with the Institute for Human Security and Social Change (IHSSC) at La Trobe University.

In late 2019, Paul joined the Organisation Studies and Human Resources Management Group (OSHRM), at the University of Essex Business School in the UK, as a lecturer in organisation studies.

Dr John Azure

Dr John Azure is a Lecturer in Accounting at the Essex Business School.

Dr Fitra Roman Cahaya

Fitra Roman Cahaya is a Lecturer in Accounting at Essex Business School, University of Essex. He is also a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Roman completed his PhD (Accounting) and Master of Commerce (Accounting) at Curtin University, Australia, under highly competitive scholarships from the Australian Government. He obtained his Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from Universitas Islam Indonesia. He received the Best Student Award in Accounting from Universitas Islam Indonesia in 1998 and the Best Student Award in Postgraduate Financial Accounting from Curtin Business School in 2006.

Roman examines some subsets of sustainability reporting such as anti-corruption reporting, occupational health and safety disclosures, labour-related sustainability reporting and human rights disclosures. His scholarly work appears in refereed journals such as Journal of Business Ethics, Accounting Education, Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies and Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. Roman is an editorial board member of International Journal of Critical Accounting and an editorial review board member of Journal of Global Responsibility. He has also contributed as an ad hoc reviewer for a number of internationally recognized journals such as Journal of Business Ethics, Meditari Accountancy Research, and International Journal of Management Reviews.

Roman completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Curtin University in 2019 through an Endeavour Fellowship Program, a highly competitive scholarship from the Australian Government. Prior to joining Essex Business School, Roman served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting at Universitas Islam Indonesia. He also served as the Director of Finance and Budget at Universitas Islam Indonesia from 2013 to 2018.

Dr Sandra Moog

Sandra Moog has been a Lecturer in Management and Sustainability at the University of Essex since 2008. Previously, she taught in the Sociology Department and in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex. She holds degrees in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Chicago and the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of a number of books and articles on international environmental politics and transnational civic activism; on the comparative bases of environmental movement organisation in Europe, North and South America; and on the role of NGOs and corporations in processes of environmental governance.

Dr Wali Ur Rehman

Wali holds PhD in Management Sciences in the field of human resource management, organizational behavior and organizational psychology and also conducting research in the field of entrepreneurship, institutional development, institutional theory, social cognitive and social exchange theories.

Currently, working as Lecturer at the Essex Business School and involved in teaching and supervision in the UG and PGT modules. Before that he worked in the University of Kent, UK and worked closely with the central student success teams in improving the students’ achievements and supported the interventions to foster the EDI and to implement the framework of Athena SWAN at the KBS at university of Kent, which involves communication with different internal as well as external stakeholders. Prior to that he worked at HEIs in Pakistan i.e., SZABIST, Islamabad Pakistan and Bahria University, Islamabad Pakistan. He has experience of working with the Departmental Board of Studies and Corporate advisory Council in the Management Sciences Department. He also worked as a Project Manager in Higher Education Commission-Pakistan and managed the human resource development component of the development project.

He has published in well reputed journals including CABS 3-Star, 2-Star, 1-star research journals. He is very flexible and worked with different collaborators from Pakistan and UK universities. He is an active member of GLOBELICS-The global research network, International society for development and sustainability and International economics development research center. He has attended and presented research at different academic conferences in Pakistan, UK, Greece, and Hong Kong. He has a good working knowledge of different analytical software which could be used for different types of research / statistical models in examining the relationships between different constructs. These software programs include, SPSS, R-Programming, SmartPLS, HLM7 for multilevel models, MS Excel, DEA (Data envelopment analysis), IBM-AMOS and Structural Topic Modelling.