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Re-building trust: Sustainability and non-financial reporting and the European Union regulation

Special issue call for papers from Meditari Accountancy Research

Guest edited by:

John Dumay, Macquarie University, Australia
Matteo La Torre, University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara, Italy
Svetlana Sabelfeld, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Marita Blomkvist, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


What is the special issue about?

While research into social and environmental accounting has a long tradition in accounting research, the EU Directive poses new challenges for practice and creates novel research opportunities to investigate the regulatory forces that have imposed mandatory reporting for non-financial information (La Torre et al., Forthcoming). The Directive, which requires the “disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups”, has now been transposed into law for all EU Member states. Over 6000 European companies with 500 or more employees must now issue a nonfinancial report for the 2017 reporting year. The report must contain information about the European Parliament’s concerns with companies, their policies, and their processes regarding environmental matters, social and employee-related matters, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters, and supply and subcontracting chains. The main rationale for these disclosures is the EU Parliament’s desire to rebuild trust with “investors and consumers” (European Union, 2014, p. 1). This context represents an opportunity to investigate how any actors or reporting practices involved in the EU Directive can contribute to (re)building trust.

The special issue aims to be the first outlet to foster and collect early empirical and theoretical studies about the EU Directive on non-financial and diversity information (Directive 2014/95/EU). This is a novel topic with growing research and practical interest. This mandate, that larger companies divulge social, environmental, and diversity information for investors, customers, and other stakeholders, is impacting policy and practice in European Member States. Thus, the EU Directive is a practice-driven opportunity for researchers to advance accounting research.

This special issue calls for research that investigates the theoretical, practical, and policy implications of the EU Directive, especially those studies that focus on the role of regulations in (re)building trust in corporations through their disclosures and reports. Developing trust is a key element of the EU Directive (European Union, 2014) and, while trust has a collective cognitive base, it also depends on a leap of faith beyond the cognitive level (Seal and Vincent‐Jones, 1997). Thus, trust between parties is affected by the use of accounting information and vice-versa (Johansson and Baldvinsdottir, 2003).
The EU Directive is an example of how businesses, investors, consumers, and the EU Parliament is trying to rebuild trust in the European economy.

We welcome submissions of studies that explore, but are not restricted to, the following topics about the EU Directive:

  • Trust in non-financial accounting, disclosures, and reporting
  • The political processes influencing the supranational and national regulation of non-financial reporting
  • Cultural factors and national practices influencing the EU Directive’s transposition
  • Sustainability reporting and regulation
  • Reporting frameworks used to comply with the EU Directive
  • The credibility of voluntary and mandatory reporting
  • Changes to corporate accountability
  • Extension of the EU regulation to other forms of corporate disclosure (e.g., websites or social media)
  • Technological advances in non-financial reporting
  • Implications for practice and policy.

Submission instructions:

  • The closing date for submissions for this special issue is 28th February 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
  • Any queries in advance of submission can be sent for the attention of the Guest Editors to [email protected]  

Key dates:

  • February 28, 2019: Submission deadline
  • June 30, 2019: First reviews before this date
  • June – October 2019: Revisions and further review rounds
  • November 1, 2019: Final decisions
  • January 2020: Publication of Special Issue


European Union. (2014), Directive as regards Disclosure of Non-financial and Diversity Information by Certain Large Undertakings and Groups., 2014/95/EU,
Johansson, I.-L., & Baldvinsdottir, G. (2003). Accounting for trust: some empirical evidence. Management Accounting Research, 14(3), 219–234.
La Torre, M., Sabelfeld, S., Blomkvist M., Tarquinio, L., Dumay, J. (Forthcoming) Harmonising non-financial reporting regulation in Europe: practical forces and projections for future research, Meditari Accountancy Research.
Seal, W., & Vincent‐Jones, P. (1997). Accounting and trust in the enabling of long‐term relations. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 10(3), 406–431.