Exploring environmental impacts and responses in the conduit to sustainability accounting in an African country
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The purpose of this study is to explore environmental impacts and responses in Uganda, an African country where a sustainability accounting approach is of growing significance and relevance. This is still a relatively new field of practice as well as a new academic endeavor, and thus entails originality. Oil and petroleum and energy-sector activities are generally key ingredients in the fast-growing economy, and are in the categories of being high risk with immensely negative social and environmental impacts. Petroleum companies dominate the top taxpayers in the country, which justifies a focus on the oil industry sector. This study is conceived as an improvement on one of the objectives of a wider study by the first author that investigated the relations among legitimacy, marketing and environmental accounting practices, focusing on oil companies in Uganda. Data collection methods included analysis of the way in which environmental accounting is developed and assessment of the credibility of inputs at various levels. Other data collection methods included a review of companies’ environmental reports/statements and ethnographic interviews at oil companies, formal and informal garages and filling stations. A questionnaire was also administered to 155 respondents drawn from 57 oil supply chains. Our major findings are that the main negative impacts on the environment in all oil marketing chains were soil and water pollution. There is an emphasis on profit margins at the expense of environmental factors in an equatorial country that induces climate change. The study results add to the body of knowledge on sustainability accounting to mitigate the environmental problems in place and minimize further occurrences. We suggest that future accountants need to understand and have knowledge of sustainability issues and how they can be captured in reports for a sustainable future.
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