CRAFIC Projects

Project Title: Engaging Business on the State of Nature: Exploring the Implementation of an Extinction Accounting Framework for Integrated Reporting and Responsible

Project funded by The British Academy

CRAFiC member: Professor Jill Atkins

A significant challenge faced by humanity is the ongoing extinction crisis. At the start of the 21st century we find ourselves in the midst of the sixth period of mass extinction on planet earth, differing from the previous five as it is caused by human activity. Extinction is not only an urgent issue for naturalists, scientists and ecologists but also for businesses, investors and accountants. The business world has a crucial role to play in species protection as biodiversity cannot be preserved without the cooperation of global companies, the responsible investment community and corporate integrated reporting.

We have developed a framework for ‘extinction accounting’ which, where implemented, will be transformational and will prevent extinction of species. This project seeks to interview key responsible investors, NGOs and companies to explore the most effective way of implementing this framework into integrated reporting and through responsible investor-company engagement. The research focuses on species identified in the IUCN Red List as critically endangered.

Project Title: Seeking an Enhanced Understanding of English credit unions' potential through an international comparison

Project funded by The British Academy

CRAFiC member: Professor Bill Lee

This project entitled Seeking an enhanced understanding of English credit union’s potential through an international comparison aims to make a comparison between credit unions in the UK and those in New Zealand. Credit unions (CUs) are financial co-operatives owned by their members. By encouraging their members to save regularly before borrowing, CUs promote thrift and self-help and recycle funds within a population that shares a common bond, helping to promote the financial health of that community. Many credit unions provide financial services to those who are denied such inclusion by banks. Credit unions have generally grown in size and this makes it increasingly difficult for officers of credit unions to know the people who wish to become members and whether or not to trust them. Legislation demands that credit unions implement risk management policies.

A key objective of this project is to compare the risk management policies of credit unions in the UK and New Zealand and how they link with conceptualisations of trust that credit unions employ. New Zealand has been chosen for the comparison because some academic writers have suggested that credit unions in both the UK and New Zealand are in a stage of transition between nascence and maturity, which suggests that UK and New Zealand credit unions are comparable in a number of ways. The research entails, amongst other things, conducting interviews with managers of credit unions in both countries and collecting a range of documents including credit unions' loan policies, savings requirements and risk analysis techniques. It is hoped that the comparison will enable identification of good practice and shared learning across the two countries. The research is funded by the British Academy.

NIPSA report Sewart SmythProject Title: Our Homes, Our Future: Protecting Public Housing

Project funded by the Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance (NIPSA)

CRAFiC member: Dr Stewart Smyth

Since the formation of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) in 1971, housing has never been in as large a crisis as it is now. House building is at its lowest level for over forty years. Nearly 20,000 individuals and families apply for housing each year because they are homeless. The policy responses, in both Westminster and Stormont, to this housing crisis have been wholly inadequate. This has led to a “broken housing market” and a housing crisis in NI, every bit as acute as in England.

In both jurisdictions, the root problem lies in a housing system and housing policy that prioritises making money over all else. In this view houses are seen as stores of wealth, to be used instead of a pension or to make money from, by renting or “flipping”, when the prices rise. In other words, housing is seen as a commodity to be bought, sold and profited from.

In this report Dr Smyth analyses the scale of the housing crisis in NI and argues for radical housing policies that put the human need for shelter as the priority, not further profit-making.

Click here to download the Our Homes, Our Future report

SCA-Emp Team CRAFiCProject Title: Supply chain accounting and employment practices in the rising economies: global commodity chains, cost effectiveness and competitiveness

Project funded by The ESRC

CRAFiC members: Prof John Cullen and Dr Juliana Meira

Forging relationships with value and meeting labour standards are essential for achieving competitiveness throughout the supply chain, and both are the focus of a new ESRC-funded research project from Sheffield University Management School (ESRC Grant reference: ES/K006452/1). This three-year project aims to explore the current role, and future potential, of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards within the automotive and textile industries in Brazil and South Africa. From a supply chain accounting perspective, this is an exciting project because it moves the debate around supply chain accounting away from just focusing on competitive advantage arising out of the sharing of accounting and process information to one which engages the sharing of information into the domain of social and environmental accounting.

The investigating team includes an international spread of academics from different disciplines. Professor Dibben (PI) is joined on the project by Sheffield University Management School colleagues Professor John Cullen and Professor Phil Johnson, together with Professor Geoffrey Wood from the University of Warwick, Professor Luiz Miranda and Dr Juliana Meira from the Federal University of Pernambuco Brazil, and Dr Debby Bonnin from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Two PhD students, Caroline Linhares and Gareth Crockett, complete the team.

Click here to see more details on the project website

Project Title: UKIERI Trilateral Research Grant

Project funded by UK India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI)

CRAFiC member: Prof Sumon Bhaumik

This project aims to examine two related issues that can facilitate (or hinder) private sector development – financial development and corporate governance – in a BRICS country, India. Specifically, it addresses four questions: (a) have financial reforms reduced informational inefficiency, volatility and transactions cost in India’s capital market? (b) how have these reforms affected allocational efficiency of credit and risk-taking by commercial banks? (c) how have financial and real sector reforms affected the quality of corporate governance? and (d) how have changes in corporate governance quality affected firm behaviour and firm performance?

As part of this project, in June 2015, CRAFiC hosted a workshop on financial development and corporate governance in emerging market economies. The workshop saw a keynote address by Prof Marc Goergen (University of Cardiff) discussing 'Corporate Governance and Financial Sector Development in India'. More details on the workshop can be found here.

The research team includes Dr Manisha Chakrabarty from the Indian Institute of Management at Calcutta, Dr Ekta Selarka from the Madras School of Economics, and Professor Ali Kutan from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

Project Title: Forces for Change

Project funded by Business in the Community (BITC)

CRAFiC member: Prof Sumon Bhaumik

In collaboration with some of his colleagues at Sheffield University Management School and in co-operation with Business in the Community (BITC), Professor Sumon Bhaumik is working on the Forces for Change project. This is a follow-up of the 2012 Forces for Change project. Details about the project will follow.

Project Title: Funding Mechanisms for New Social Housing in Northern Ireland: A UK-wide Comparative Study

Project funded by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE)

CRAFiC member: Dr Stewart Smyth

This project was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) on behalf of the Department for Social Development (DSD) in the NI Executive government. In a time of reduced public funding this project compares the different approaches of the devolved administrations in the UK to funding for social housing new builds.

The research team includes Professor Paddy Gray (University of Ulster) and RSM McClure Watters (Belfast). Dr Stewart Smyth was responsible for the data collection and analysis covering social housing funding in England. The final report was published in November 2015 and is available to download from here.

Project title: Improving profitability and customer service through better management of reverse logistics processes in the UK retail sector

Project funded by the Department for Transport

CRAFiC member: Prof John Cullen

This research has lled to the development of a Reverse Logistics Toolkit that enables companies in the retail sector, together with members of their supply chain, to improve management of the flow of surplus or unwanted products returned by customers. Companies using the toolkit have seen a reduction in returns of up to 40 per cent, a significant figure given that total UK retail returns have been valued at around £6 billion per annum. The toolkit has enabled companies to reduce costs, improve service provision and reduce transport movements.

This research has led to extensive research impact in terms of economic, commercial and organisational impacts. The research findings were used by the Department for Transport (DfT) and by the Chartered Institute of Management Accounting (CIMA) to inform and encourage best practice within retail organisations. It built on underpinning supply chain accounting research foundations.

In terms of user engagement and impact, the 40 managers who contributed to the co-design of the toolkit through the industrial forums and workshops benefitted significantly. They were able to take ideas back to their organisations, share good practices, identify benchmarks, and implement new processes. Industrial partners who supported the development of the reverse logistics toolkit included Avon, Christian Salvesen, Consilium, Dale C Rockell, DHL, Entertainment UK, Fuel Champ, Halfords, LCP Consulting, Linpac, Menzies Distribution, O2, PC World, Stiller Group, Vivendi Universal Games and Wincanton.

Click here to read more about this project's impact