Professor Frank Birkin
Professor of Accounting for Sustainable Development
+44 114 222 3452
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Sheffield University Management School
The aim of my research is to account for sustainable development. Whilst a key objective of this research is the development and implementation of practical forms of accounting for use by managers in a variety of institutions, the aim proves to be very wide-ranging for it embraces social, environmental and traditional forms of accounting as well as engineering, scientific, economic, social, philosophical and policy aspects of sustainable development.
This is because the development of accounting for sustainable development requires conceptual, cultural, technical and political changes.
My theoretical approach is rare amongst accounting theorists since I employ in essence a scientific realist rather than social constructivist understanding.
- Research interests
I have both developed and applied my theoretical understanding in new practical management and accounting tools for sustainable development.
For example, I won £300k+ European Union funding for an international project to develop a first account of the sustainable development performance of island tourism, Sustainable Tourism’s Environmental Protection System (STEPS) for islands.
Also in close collaboration with Sheffield University’s Department of Civil Engineering, a team of environmental accounts of which I was a leading member have won over £1 million from the EPSRC for a series of projects relating to fresh and grey water management in the UK.
My research has been published in wide-ranging international journals from Critical Perspectives on Accounting and the British Accounting Review to Business Strategy and the Environment and the International Journal of World Ecology and Sustainable Development.
Recognition of my work has resulted in several international key-note speaker invitations, an invitation from the European Commission to participate in the development of a proposed service-sector eco-label and the co-hosting of a European conference on sustainable tourism in Venice with guest speakers from the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme, World Tourism Organisation, World Wide Fund for Nature as well as the national Italian environmental agency.
- Intrinsic capability: Implementing intrinsic sustainable development for an ecological civilisation.
- Intrinsic Sustainable Development. World Scientific Publishing Company.
- Intrinsic Sustainable Development. WORLD SCIENTIFIC.
- The prospects for environmental accounting and accountability in China. Accounting Forum, 43(3), 327-347. View this article in WRRO
- Four priorities for new links between conservation science and accounting research. Conservation Biology. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Accounting for sustainability: episteme change and ontological plurality. Вестник Санкт-Петербургского университета. Серия 5. Экономика(4), 104-123.
- The relevance of epistemic analysis to sustainability economics and the capability approach. Journal of Ecological Economics, 144-152.
- An Epistemic Analysis of (Un)Sustainable Business. Journal of Business Ethics, 103(2), 239-253.
- A New Business Model for Sustainable Development: an exploratory study using the Theory of Constraints in Nordic Organizations. Business Strategy and the Environment, 18(5), 277-290.
- New sustainable business models in China.. Business Strategy and the Environment, 18(1), 64-77.
- Current issues of sustainable production, eco-supply chains and eco-logistics for sustainable development. International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 7(1), 88-88.
- International Journal of Global Environment Issues: Editorial. International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 7(1), 1-3.
- Accounting’s contribution to a conscious cultural evolution: an end to sustainable development. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 16(3), 185-208.
- Ecological accounting: new tools for a sustainable culture. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 10(1), 49-61.
- Financial comparability and environmental diversity: An international context. Business Strategy and the Environment, 11(6), 343-359.
- Steps to natural capitalism. Sustainable Development, 9(1), 47-57.
- Some Evidence on Executives’ views of Corporate Social Responsibility. The British Accounting Review, 33(3), 357-397.
- CRITICAL COMMENTARY. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 11(4), 505-511.
- THE ART OF ACCOUNTING FOR SCIENCE: A PREREQUISITE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 11(3), 289-309.
- Extending the boundaries of annual reporting: A challenge to the accountant and her profession. Journal of Applied Accounting Research, 5(1), 37-67.
- CHANGED RULES THEORY AND THE EVOLUTION OF ACCOUNTANCY. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 8(4), 315-340.
- Organizational Legitimacy and Stakeholder Information Provision1. British Journal of Management, 7(4), 329-347.
- THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTANT: FROM THE COGITO TO THINKING LIKE A MOUNTAIN. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 7(3), 231-257.
- Tales in two countries: An insight into corporate environmental reporting in Denmark and the UK. Business Strategy and the Environment, 3(3), 10-15.
- Can Vietnamese traditional values drive ‘sustainability’? An Emic perspective In Birkin F & Polesie T (Ed.), Intrinsic Capability: Implementing Intrinsic Sustainable Development for an Ecological Civilisation (pp. 86-101). World Scientific View this article in WRRO
- A REFLECTION, Intrinsic Capability (pp. 199-203). WORLD SCIENTIFIC
- Introduction, Intrinsic Capability: Implementing Intrinsic Sustainable Development for an Ecological Civilisation (pp. 1-14).
- Business and the Emerging Ecological Civilization In Borland H, Lindgreen A, Vanhamme J, Maon F, Ambrosini V & Florencio B (Ed.), Business Strategies for Sustainability Routledge
Conference proceedings papers
- View this article in WRRO Traditional cultures for multiple values and enhanced sustainability: a case study of Vietnam. The 25th International Sustainable Development Research Conference, Nanjing, China, June 2019
- Research group
- Environmental and Social Accounting
- Environmental Management Accounting
- Accounting for Sustainable Development
- Episteme change analysis
Building capacities for corporate environmental management: a study of experiences in the Yunnan and Jiangsu provinces of the People’s Republic of China. EUROPEAID/117860/C/G 2006 - 2007 Universities of Sheffield, Barcelona, Kunming & Nanjing. £284210
STEPS (Sustainable Tourism’s Environmental Protection System) for Islands EU Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Milan 1999 - 2001 £310000
Preventative Environmental Management for Small Enterprises (PREMISE) EU DGXII Environment Sheffield University, Kruger Consult, University of Lisbon, Institute of Ecological Economics Vienna. 1994 - 1996 £470,000 ECU
- Teaching interests
I have taught on a wide range of courses at undergraduate and post-graduate levels in accounting and business management.
The modules I have taught include management accounting, social and organisational aspects of accounting, financial strategy and business administration.
Much of my teaching derives directly from my research interests such as social and environmental accounting, environmental management accounting and accounting for sustainability. I have supervised ten PhD students.
- Professional activities
Recent invited papers and keynote Lectures
- "Intrinsic Sustainable Development & the role of accounting"
- Invited talk at Gothenburg University (2012), Uppsala University (2012), American University of Sharjah (2013), Universidad Pablo de Olivade (2013), Universiddade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (2013), University of Montpellier (2013) & University of Burgos (2013).