University of Almería (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Page: 7837 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2023.2138
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Over the last few years, the situation in sustainability education has evolved to a point where efforts are being made to introduce the concept of sustainability into a multitude of laws and curricula. Even the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has promoted the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme, with the aim of providing students of all ages with the knowledge they need to overcome related international challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change and unsustainable resource use.

Higher education institutions and business schools are also trying to include sustainability in their courses and namely in the accounting education. In this work, the authors want to delve into the research regarding ethics and sustainability reporting since these topics are intrinsically connected and discover how this field has been developed.

The main objective is to carry out a bibliometric analysis of the measurement of environmental efficiency in accounting and present an overview of the global literature related to non-financial reporting that addresses sustainability within the accounting sphere, providing a constructive contribution of perspectives on sustainability reporting that will be useful for future studies and for education institutions that could assess how ethics is needed in accounting courses.

Scopus has been selected to deal with the research data in this work. This is currently the largest database of research abstracts and citations in the world, containing 24,600 journals from 5,000 publishers. It has been used as a search condition a first title line named "sustainab*" and "report*", followed by the terms "non* financ*" and "report*"; a second line with the word "ethic*"; and a third line with “business school*”, “higher education*” and “universit*”. Only articles written in English have been considered: 107 effective documents were obtained. Then, the found material was downloaded in CSV format and coded using Excel (2016 version) and VOSviewer (1.6.18 version). The data retrieval date is January 12, 2023.

The period of analysis runs from 1989 to 2022, going from 1 article written in the first year of this analysis to 24 in the last. Despite this exponential growth, the real literary proliferation occurred from 2014 onwards, going from 21 articles written in total up to that date to the 107 mentioned above, i.e., an increase of more than 500% in just 8 years. The explanation is related to the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Within the geographical scope, the Anglo-Saxon countries stand out here, i.e., the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, in that order, although the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Spain) is, at the institutional level, one of the most prominent, along with other universities in the aforementioned countries. The medical journal BMJ Open (Q1) stands out from the rest.

The study of sustainability reporting has become a growing line of research over the last three decades. Thanks to new developments in accounting and transparency, different situations of need can be studied and made sustainable. Sustainability education will contribute to the improvement of both the behavioural and cognitive dimensions of learning, as well as understanding the content, outcomes and pedagogy of learning itself.
Ethics, environmental education, business schools, bibliometric analysis, sustainability.