Danubius International Conferences, 22nd EMAN Conference. Social Responsibility and Sustainability Accounting-Key Corporate Performance Drivers and Measures

The role of accounting and accountability for land and soil use: a structured literature review

Laura Corazza, Maurizio Cisi, Fiorenzo Martini
Last modified: 2018-04-05


Purpose: This paper reviews and critiques the role of accounting for land and soil use (LSU) literature, it offers an overview of the state of the idea of land as common good and outlines a future research agenda. Land consumption means the process that determines the progressive transformation of natural or agricultural surfaces through the construction of buildings and infrastructures. As these processes are mostly irreversible, they compromise Earth’s surface. Are corporations aware or committed to land consumption? What is the role of accounting and non-financial accounting in reporting such information?

Design/methodology/approach: Articles published in accounting and sustainability accounting journals are analyzed using a structured literature review methodology. This paper is novel because it employs a structured literature review methodology as developed by Massaro et al. (2016). A structured literature review is empirical grounded, the paper adopts a scientific protocol to review the papers published in journals specializing in the field of sustainability accounting.

Findings: Land and soil accounting is a research area of growing importance. Findings show that few authors and few works specialized in the field and there are several obstacles to developing a cohesive body of literature. Low levels of integration of mainstream accounting in sustainability accounting are noticed, this mean that the literature is fragmented. Some research topics and some methodologies are over-analyzed, while others are under-investigated. Additionally, academic researchers should re-think their research implications if they wish to make significant contributions developing research which impacts practice.

Originality/value: The paper presents a comprehensive structured literature review of the articles published in sustainability and accounting for sustainability journals. The paper’s findings can offer insights into future research needs.


Paper Type: Research paper




Massaro, M., Dumay, J., & Guthrie, J. (2016). On the shoulders of giants: Undertaking a structured literature review. Accounting, Auditing & AccountabilityJournal, 29, 767–801.