The Influence of Legitimacy and Marketing in the Context of Accounting for the Environment in a Sub-Saharan African Country

Abstract

Purpose – The paper intends to serve as a contribution to the requirements for organizations to account for and disclose the social and environmental (SE) consequences of their activities, aspects of the concept of sustainability accounting (SA). In particular, this research study investigates the current practices of environmental accounting (EA), whether it is influenced by the same values as that of society and is used as a marketing tool of the oil and gas sector in Uganda, a less developed country. Design/methodology/approach – The study involved 57 oil and petroleum supply chains. Major data collection methods included a review of 13 annual reports/statements by oil companies and both a structured and a semi-structured questionnaire involving 272 respondents, with a response rate of 57.0%. A mixed-methodological approach was employed to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data together. Findings – (1) There are no detailed archival records related to EA; (2) respondents’ (106) responses to the possible consequences of not accounting for the environment were almost indifferent on issues that influence marketing, indicated by the small differences in the mean (1.83 to 2.50) and standard deviations (0.504 to 0.925); (3) responses on the influence of legitimacy and marketing on accounting for the environment ranged from 8.3% to 90.0%, while the mean ranged from 1.92 to 3.90 and the standard deviations from 0.303 to 1.482; (4) we suggest that EA is currently not being done, which is an indicator of poor management of the environment; (5) the results support that a marketing tool is not a significant determining factor of accounting for the environment, despite having a social role to fulfill; and (6) the results do support the theory of legitimacy, because oil and petroleum products suppliers in the country respond to environmental laws, regulations and guidelines. Originality/value – The highlighted perspective on how organizations account for and disclose the environmental trends of their activities – an aspect of the concept of SA in Uganda, a country with a youthful population, open markets, abundant resources and significant unexploited oil and gas reserves – distinguishes this study from others on similar topics.

Keywords: Environment, Legitimacy., Marketing, oil and gas sector, sub-Saharan Africa, sustainability accounting

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 33-63 (Download PDF)

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