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New Challenges in Sustainability Reporting

Special issue call for papers from Meditari Accountancy Research

Guest Editors:
Alessandro Lai, University of Verona, Italy ,
Riccardo Stacchezzini, University of Verona, Italy,

What is the special issue about?

Corporations increasingly incorporate a sustainability mind-set within corporate governance and business strategy. In the past, many of them have treated sustainability as marginal, with only specific departments and experts involved in addressing specific social and environmental issues. A “silo thinking” has predominantly driven corporate behaviour, with the exception of a few enlightened companies that have treated sustainability as their core mission and value. Times have changed, and a number of incentives are now motivating corporations to enact sustainability practices in a more holistic manner.
For example, corporate reporting is more and more required not only to disclose social and environmental performance, but also to communicate how sustainability is embedded within corporate vision, informs business strategy, and sustains financial performance. Indeed, a more holistic, integrated representation of sustainability is increasingly required from companies by both financial and nonfinancial stakeholders. Engagement with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) represents one of the more recent examples of what companies are expected to communicate.
Given this background, we are pleased to announce a special issue of Meditari Accountancy Research with the general theme of new challenges in sustainability reporting. The objective of this special issue is to publish high quality papers that promote the understanding of sustainability reporting practices in the light of current and emerging challenges. The special issue is open to both conceptual studies and empirical analysis based on qualitative as well as quantitative methodological approaches.

Possible topics for contributions include, but are not limited to, the following issues:

  • Relationships between sustainability practices and sustainability disclosure
  • Accounting and reporting for SDGs
  • Sustainability-oriented business model and strategy disclosure
  • Convergence between financial and nonfinancial reporting
  • Impression management and legitimation strategies adopted in disclosing sustainability achievements;
  • The impact of new media (e.g. company website, social networks) on sustainability disclosure
  • Financial and nonfinancial stakeholders’ reaction to sustainability-oriented disclosure
  • The regulation and institutionalization of sustainability practices
  • Comparisons among sustainability-related disclosures in diverse forms of reporting (e.g. sustainability reports, financial reports, integrated reports)
  • Integration between internal sustainability accounting and external sustainability reporting
  • Integrated or silo approaches to sustainability reporting (e.g. impact of integrated thinking on sustainability reporting)
  • Sustainability reporting practices in private and/or small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Submission instructions:

  • The closing date for submissions for this special issue is August 31, 2019. Manuscripts should be submitted via Scholar One Manuscripts
  • Please choose the special issue from the list in step 4 of the online submission process when submitting your manuscript
  • All papers will be blind reviewed using Meditari Accountancy Research’s normal procedures
  • All papers must follow the Author guidelines
  • The Guest Editors welcome enquiries in advance of submission and declarations of interest. Enquiries can be sent to the Guest Editors: (Alessandro Lai), (Riccardo Stacchezzini)

Key dates:

  • June 1, 2019: Submission window opens
  • August 31, 2019: Submission deadline
  • October 31, 2019: First reviews before this date
  • November 2019 – March 2020: Revisions and further review rounds
  • April, 2020: Final decisions
  • June 2020: Publication of Special Issue


Bebbington, J., & Larrinaga, C. (2014). Accounting and sustainable development: An exploration. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 39(6), 395–413.

de Villiers, C., Sharma, U. (2018), A critical reflection on the future of financial, intellectual capital, sustainability and integrated reporting, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, In Press,

Lai A., Melloni G., & Stacchezzini, R. (2017), What does materiality mean to integrated reporting preparers? An empirical exploration, Meditari Accountancy Research, 25(4), 533–552.

Lai A., Melloni G., & Stacchezzini, R. (2018), Integrated reporting and narrative accountability: the role of preparers, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31(5), 1381–1405.

Rinaldi, L., Unerman, J., & de Villiers, C. (2018). Evaluating the integrated reporting journey: insights, gaps and agendas for future research. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 31(5), 1294–1318.

Stent, W., & Dowler, T. (2015). Early assessments of the gap between integrated reporting and current corporate reporting. Meditari Accountancy Research, 23(1), 92–117.