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Environmental Protection and Sustainability Reporting:Extensible Business Reporting Language(XBRL)Interactive Data to the Rescue

Faboyede, Olusola Samuel (2011) Environmental Protection and Sustainability Reporting:Extensible Business Reporting Language(XBRL)Interactive Data to the Rescue. Journal of Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection, 1 (2). pp. 6-17.

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A company‟s environmental performance is important to the financial markets because improved environmental performance generally leads to higher, more sustainable, financial values. Challenges that arise in environmental financial accounting border on proper accountability of environmental costs and liabilities, meaningful disclosure of enterprise environmental performance, and development/usage of appropriate management accounting procedures (e.g. costing out pollution controls; comparing alternative materials that can be used in manufacturing; and investigating recycling alternatives). The need for standardized environmental performance indicators (EPIs) which link financial and environmental performance in order to support the quality of decision making of stakeholders cannot be overemphasized. In spite of the existence or underway development of a number of guidelines for measuring and disclosing environmental performance, many environmental indicators are of a limited benefit due to the lack of standardization of environmental information. Most information today moves in a digital format and people often go to the internet for information. Sustainability information, however, has largely remained in print, but report preparers and users have much to gain by moving environmental and social performance information into the wider digital flow of information. This paper therefore, while showcasing the importance of and need for environmental accounting and reporting, provides a recipe underscored by information standardization through the engagement of the twenty-first century corporate reporting language known as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). XBRL enables an electronic “tag” on numbers or other qualitative information in the report so that computers can recognize the information, select it, analyze it, store it, exchange it with other computers and present it automatically in different ways. It concludes that the assurance about a company‟s financial projections and nonfinancial information (customer satisfaction, employee retention, or environmental reporting) and the integrity of the information itself through XBRL would enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of resource allocation, increase income and welfare, as well as achieve the objective of an environmentally sound management which encompasses increasing eco-efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and increasing company value added. It thus recommends that Nigeria and the developing countries should embrace the XBRL technology as they cannot afford to be left behind by the fast spreading current worldwide future reporting standard.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Solomon Bayoko
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2014 14:11
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2014 14:11

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