Sustainability Reporting: Opportunities and Challenges for Accountants

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Source

Third Annual Academic Conference on Social Responsibility


Sustainability has steadily emerged as an important public issue. As the demand for sustainability information grows, the issuance of corporate sustainability reports is becoming a mainstream practice. However, because sustainability reporting is not generally mandated, the form, quality, and reliability of sustainability reports vary widely. Accountants are well positioned to assist with improving the quality of sustainability information, both as preparers and as assurers of sustainability reports. Along with these opportunities come challenges, as standards for preparing, reporting, and assuring this information are not well developed, particularly in the U.S. This article provides an overview of the topics typically included under the broad heading of sustainability, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Triple Bottom Line. Current frameworks and standards for sustainability reporting and assurance are discussed, along with key recent trends and developments in sustainability reporting. The article highlights opportunities and challenges for accountants, and concludes with advice and future directions for accountants who want to participate in this new frontier of corporate reporting by enhancing the quality of sustainability information.


Permission documentation is on file.


University of Washington, Tacoma

Place of Publication

Tacoma, WA

Peer Reviewed