Carbon Management Accounting: A Strategic Imperative for Navigating Climate Change Risks in Accounting Practices

Submissions open 1st January 2024


In an age where environmental concerns are reshaping industries and global economies, the integration of climate change considerations into various facets of business has emerged as a critical imperative. Among these, accounting practices play a pivotal role in addressing climate change risks and exposures. The intricate interplay between financial data, reporting standards, and environmental challenges has prompted a paradigm shift in the way businesses approach risk assessment, financial reporting, and long-term strategy. Climate change, driven primarily by human activities releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, has far-reaching consequences for both natural ecosystems and human societies. The resulting shifts in weather patterns, rising sea levels, and increased frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes and droughts have introduced complex and often unpredictable risks to businesses across sectors. These risks manifest in various forms, including physical risks, transitional risks, and legal/regulatory risks.

Climate change, often referred to as the defining challenge of our era, has emerged as a monumental global concern with far-reaching implications for the world's ecosystems, societies, and economies. At the heart of the climate crisis lies the daunting task of curbing carbon emissions and transitioning to a sustainable, low-carbon future. Within this complex landscape, carbon management accounting has emerged as a strategic imperative for organizations seeking to navigate the ever-increasing risks posed by climate change. One of the central aspects of climate change is the relentless increase in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), into the Earth's atmosphere. These emissions, largely originating from human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes, trap heat and lead to global warming, resulting in adverse consequences like rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and disruptions to ecosystems. The urgency to mitigate these emissions has prompted governments, businesses, and communities worldwide to re-evaluate their practices and embrace sustainability as a core objective.

Carbon management accounting plays a pivotal role in this global endeavor encompassing the systematic measurement, analysis, and reporting of an organization's carbon emissions and associated costs. By quantifying emissions, organizations can understand their carbon footprint and its impact on climate change. This knowledge serves as a foundation for strategic decision-making, enabling businesses to identify opportunities for reducing emissions, optimizing operations, and aligning their activities with a low-carbon future. In essence, carbon management accounting bridges the gap between financial considerations and environmental stewardship, offering a comprehensive approach to addressing the climate crisis.

Furthermore, carbon management accounting extends its influence beyond internal operations. It acknowledges that businesses are part of a broader ecosystem, interconnected with suppliers, customers, investors, and regulatory authorities. This interconnectedness underscores the importance of assessing climate risks along the entire value chain. As climate change escalates, it brings forth regulatory changes, physical risks (such as supply chain disruptions due to extreme weather events), and shifting consumer preferences towards eco-friendly products and services. Organizations that integrate carbon management accounting into their practices are better equipped to anticipate and respond to these evolving challenges, ultimately bolstering their resilience in the face of climate-related uncertainties. Therefore, climate change is an existential threat that requires comprehensive and systemic responses which emerges as a strategic imperative by providing organizations with the tools and insights needed to navigate climate change risks effectively. In an era where environmental sustainability and economic performance are increasingly intertwined, embracing carbon management accounting represents a proactive approach to address the climate crisis, drive innovation, reduce costs, and ensure the long-term viability of both businesses and the planet.

One of the most critical facets of climate change is its disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities and ecosystems. Rising global temperatures, driven by escalating carbon emissions, exacerbate social inequalities and threaten the livelihoods of marginalized populations. Carbon management accounting can serve as a mechanism for promoting environmental justice by enabling organizations to not only track their emissions but also assess the social and ethical implications of their actions. This comprehensive approach fosters a sense of corporate responsibility, compelling businesses to consider the broader repercussions of their operations on the climate and society. Moreover, carbon management accounting is a powerful tool for promoting transparency and accountability. In a world increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impacts of businesses, stakeholders demand greater disclosure and responsibility. Carbon accounting mechanisms provide a means for organizations to communicate their carbon reduction efforts, emissions data, and sustainability goals to investors, customers, and regulatory bodies. This transparency not only builds trust but also aligns businesses with evolving regulatory requirements, such as the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which emphasize the importance of climate risk disclosure in financial reporting.

The strategic imperative of carbon management accounting is further underscored by the financial implications of climate change. Climate-related risks, including physical risks such as property damage from extreme weather events and transition risks related to regulatory changes and shifts in market preferences, can have profound effects on an organization's financial performance. By incorporating carbon management accounting, businesses can conduct scenario analysis to assess the potential financial impact of climate-related risks. This, in turn, enables them to make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and adjust their strategies to mitigate risks and seize opportunities. Additionally, as businesses increasingly operate in a globalized world, they must navigate a complex web of international regulations, standards, and market dynamics related to carbon emissions and sustainability. Carbon management accounting serves as a bridge between these global frameworks and local operations, aiding organizations in aligning their practices with international agreements like the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. This alignment is not only crucial for addressing the collective challenge of climate change but also for maintaining a competitive edge in an evolving global marketplace. 

In this manner, carbon management accounting is a multifaceted strategic imperative that extends beyond mere emissions tracking considering social, ethical, financial, and regulatory dimensions, making it a critical tool for businesses to effectively address climate change risks. In addition, it empowers organizations to navigate the complex landscape of climate-related challenges, fosters transparency and accountability, and contributes to global efforts to combat climate change while securing their own long-term viability in an uncertain world.

Moreover, the adoption of carbon management accounting can facilitate the transition towards a circular economy. This economic model promotes sustainability by reducing waste, reusing resources, and minimizing emissions. Carbon accounting helps organizations measure and reduce emissions associated with product lifecycle stages, encouraging the design of eco-friendly products and sustainable production processes. By embedding circular economy principles into their operations, businesses can not only reduce their carbon footprint but also tap into emerging markets and consumer segments that prioritize environmental responsibility. Another critical dimension of carbon management accounting is its role in influencing investment decisions. In a world increasingly conscious of climate risks, investors are scrutinizing the environmental performance of companies before allocating capital. Firms that demonstrate effective carbon management practices are more likely to attract responsible investors and access sustainable finance options. This not only enhances their access to capital but also aligns their financial interests with the imperative to combat climate change. 

Furthermore, carbon management accounting contributes to the emergence of carbon markets and trading mechanisms. Carbon pricing, whether through cap-and-trade systems or carbon taxes, introduces a financial incentive for organizations to reduce emissions. By quantifying and valuing their carbon emissions accurately, companies can participate in carbon markets, trading emissions allowances and carbon credits. This not only offers economic opportunities but also contributes to the overall reduction of global carbon emissions, thereby advancing climate change mitigation efforts. In essence, carbon management accounting stands at the nexus of environmental, social, economic, and ethical considerations in the face of climate change. Its multifaceted nature reflects the complexity of the climate challenge itself. By integrating carbon management accounting into their core operations, organizations are enhancing their resilience, adapting to a changing world, fostering transparency and accountability, and positioning themselves at the forefront of the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future. In doing so, they not only contribute to mitigating climate risks but also unlock economic opportunities that align with the urgent need for environmental stewardship.

List of topic areas

Based on the given facts and implications, the current special issue aims to cover the following topics but not limited to: 

  • The Role of Carbon Pricing Mechanisms in Carbon Management Accounting. 

  • Carbon Offsetting and its Impact on Accounting Practices. 

  • Integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Metrics into Carbon Accounting. 

  • Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and Carbon Management Reporting. 

  • Carbon Management Accounting in the Financial Services Industry. 

  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Carbon Management Accounting in Reducing Emissions. 

  • Carbon Accounting for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). 

  • The Future of Carbon Management Accounting: Trends and Innovations. 

  • Climate Risk Disclosure and Investor Decision-making 

  • Regulatory Frameworks for Integrating Climate Risk and Carbon Management in Financial Reporting 

  • Sustainability Assurance: Ensuring Credible Carbon Management 

  • Legal Challenges and Opportunities in Carbon Management 

  • Greenwashing and information asymmetries 

Submissions information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Author guidelines must be strictly followed.

Submit via ScholarOne

Author Guidelines

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines

Opening date for submissions: 1st January 2024

Submissions close: 31st May 2024

Guest Editors

Dr. Sitara Karim
Associate Professor
Department of Economics and Finance, Sunway Business School, Sunway University, Malaysia
[email protected] ; [email protected]

Dr. Yusuf Adeneye
Accounting and Finance Lecturer, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan
[email protected]