University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Curriculum Proposal Form #3

New Course

Effective Term:

Subject Area - Course Number:ACCOUNT 787Cross-listing:

(See Note #1 below)

Course Title:(Limited to 65 characters)Sustainability & Environmental Accounting

25-Character Abbreviation: Sustainability Accounting

Sponsor(s): Robert Gruber



Consultation took place:NA Yes (list departments and attach consultation sheet)


Programs Affected:MPA

Is paperwork complete for those programs? (Use "Form 2" for Catalog & Academic Report updates)

NA Yeswill be at future meeting

Prerequisites:ACCOUNT 343 or department consent

Grade Basis:Conventional LetterS/NC or Pass/Fail

Course will be offered:Part of Load Above Load

On CampusOff Campus - Location


Instructor:Robert Gruber

Note: If the course is dual-listed, instructor must be a member of Grad Faculty.

Check if the Course is to Meet Any of the Following:

Technological Literacy Requirement Writing Requirement

Diversity General Education Option:

Note: For the Gen Ed option, the proposal should address how this course relates to specific core courses, meets the goals of General Education in providing breadth, and incorporates scholarship in the appropriate field relating to women and gender.

Credit/Contact Hours: (per semester)

Total lab hours:0Total lecture hours:45

Number of credits:3Total contact hours:45

Can course be taken more than once for credit? (Repeatability)

No Yes If "Yes", answer the following questions:

No of times in major:No of credits in major:

No of times in degree:No of credits in degree:

Revised 10/021 of 10

Proposal Information:(Procedures for form #3)

Course justification:

According to a recent survey (2009) conducted by the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA), “it is an established fact that the increasingly serious and complex environmental and social issues in today’s world require the strict attention and concern of businesses and investment communities. The opportunity exists for professional accountants (and business managers) to contribute to solving these issues through the promotion of environmental accounting and disclosure, as well as enhancing the credibility of such information.” It is important that today’s business graduates commit themselves “to operate in a sustainable way with respect for the environment and to exceed the legal minimum requirements for corporate social responsibility” when making their business decisions.

One of the primary strategic objectives of UW-Whitewater’s College of Business & Economics (CoBE) is a strong commitment to preparing our students to work in an environment of corporate responsibility.This commitment will be evidenced in:

  • Course coverage of sustainability topics across the curriculum,
  • Identification of upper division courses that focus on issues of sustainability,
  • Identification of resources for students and faculty, and
  • Highlighting of COBE and campus efforts related to sustainability

In addition, CoBE’s mission includes providing quality undergraduate and graduate education to career-oriented students who will be competitive in a technologically evolving, global business environment. Three of the College’s long-range learning objectives, as described in the CoBE’s Strategic Plan, are:

(a) Develop in students a global business perspective with an awareness of cultural differences.

(b) Enhance students’ written and oral communication skills.

(c) Increase students’ analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Another important reason for this course is found with the relatively new jointly offered College of Business and College of Letters and Sciences Water Emphasis which was developed two years ago for the Integrated Science and Business major. The availability of business electives for students in the BBA water program remains limited. This course would enhance the curriculum by providing a much needed accounting course to support this new program.

The sustainability focus and the water emphasis have both received strong support from the College of Business and Economics Business Advisory Board. A course in Sustainability and Environmental Accounting is a critical need for addressing these priorities with quality and depth.

Relationship to program assessment objectives:

The assessment objectives of the BBA and MPA programs include three principal categories: (1) effective problem solvers, (2) educated critical thinkers, and (3) ethical decision makers. Each category is briefly described below.

  1. After successfully completing the BBA and MPA programs, students should be able to solve unstructured problems in complex accounting situations (problem solving). Effective problem solvers:
  2. State the problem clearly and precisely.
  3. Determine the information needed to solve the problem.
  4. Actively seek relevant information.
  5. Analyze and interpret information, drawing inferences wherever possible.
  6. Recommend and justify an appropriate solution to the problem.
  1. After successfully completing the BBA and MPA program, students should able to analyze the determining and/or competing factors in a situation, predict their effects, and recommend acceptable solutions (critical thinking). Educated critical thinkers:
  2. Are problem-solvers (see above).
  3. Identify options, taking into account their relative advantages and disadvantages.
  4. Reject information that is incorrect or irrelevant, admitting a lack of understanding (or information), when necessary
  5. Weigh the evidence, draw well-reasoned conclusions, and adjust opinions when new information is presented.
  6. Communicate their conclusions is a well-organized, logical manner.
  1. After successfully completing the BBA and MPA program, students should able to students should be able to identify ethical issues in an accounting situation and apply a reasoned-based value system to those issues (ethical behavior). Sound ethical behavior assumes a person is a problem-solver and a critical-thinker.

The proposed course will address each trait in the context of sustainability and environmental accounting.

Assessment techniques will include (1) a comprehensive paper that synthesizes the course’s readings and discussions, (2) an oral presentation that proposes solutions and other recommended actions to specific sustainability issues, (3) weekly written assignments (e.g., answers to discussion questions, summaries of seminal articles and research papers, open-ended opinion essays, etc.), and (4) a final comprehensive exam that includes all of the topics discussed during the course.

Unlike traditionally taught accounting courses, the proposed course will use a variety of assessment instruments. Instead of relying exclusively on problems and multiple-choice questions, the proposed course will use (1) an oral presentation (20%), (2) written assignments and papers (60%), and (3) a comprehensive final examination (20%). The final exam will consist of short answer questions (30%), essays (40%), and objective questions (30%).

Budgetary impact:

This course will be offered once a year, probably in spring semesters, although a summer offereing is also possible. The Accounting Department and College of Business & Economics are committed to offering this course because of its close relationship with University and College goals.

Course description:(50 word limit)

This course provides a comprehensive exploration of (a) environmental issues at multiple levels and (b) the effects of these issues on business, communities, and consumers. In addition, this course will provide students with an (c) introduction and practical understanding of the broad paradigm of sustainability and provide an (d) in-depth analysis of accounting for the natural environment; e.g., water and other natural resources.

If dual listed, list graduate level requirements for the following:

1. Content (e.g., What are additional presentation/project requirements?)

2. Intensity (e.g., How are the processes and standards of evaluation different for graduates and undergraduates? )

3. Self-Directed (e.g., How are research expectations differ for graduates and undergraduates?)

Course objectives and tentative course syllabus:


1.To educate students on both local and global environmental problems and to provide a historical context for the development of the ethical considerations and intellectual framework behind sustainability and sustainable development,

2. To provide students with an understanding of corporate social responsibility and to clarify stakeholder perspectives of business operations and the impacts to natural environment and resource base,

3. To learn to evaluate business activities and strategies in the context of the environment and natural resources and to learn how to consider sustainability principles in formulating business activities,

4. To gain familiarity with environmental and social accounting and reporting systems in business, and

5. To prepare students for leadership roles in business advancing an informed and balanced view of the environment and sustainable development.

Learning activities (grades):

  1. Quizzes
  2. Post-quizzes based on the assigned weekly readings
  3. Combination of recall, application, and thought questions
  4. Administered at the beginning of each Wednesday class session
  5. Best 10 of 12 count in determining course grade; 100 points
  6. Examination
  7. 3-5 essay questions will be distributed on 04/16/12; answers are due 05/07/12
  8. Answers must be professionally prepared (e.g., typed, correct grammar, etc.), thoroughly researched, and completed individually
  9. 100 points
  10. Research paper
  11. Topic due 02/22/12; detailed outline due 03/07/12; first draft due 04/24/12
  12. Final paper due 05/07/12
  13. 50 points
  14. Presentation of selected papers, articles, etc.

Bibliography: (Key or essential references only. Normally the bibliography should be no more than one or two pages in length.)

The primary books for this course include:

  1. Unerman, Jeffrey, Jan Bebbington, and Brendan O’Dwyer. Sustainability Accounting and Accountability (Routledge, 2007), ISBN 978-0-415-38489-6.
  2. Savitz, Andrew W with Karl Weber. The Triple Bottom Line (Jossey Bass, 2006) ISBN 978-0-7879-7907-2.
  3. Cech, Thomas. Principles of Water Resources: History, Development, Management, and Policy (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2010) ISBN 978-0-470-1361-7.
  4. Gray, Rob and Jan Bebbington. Accounting for the Environment (SAGE Publications, 2001) ISBN 978-0-7619-7137-5.
  1. Schaltegger, Stefan and Roger Burritt. Contemporary Environmental Accounting: Issues, Concepts, and Practice (Greenleaf Publishing, 2000) ISBN 1-874719-35-7.
  2. Eccles, Robert C. and Michael P. Krzus. One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2010) ISBN 978-0-470-58751-5.

Secondary Bibliography:

  1. Sustainability Accounting
  2. Bell, Simon & Stephen Morse. Sustainability Indicators: Measuring the Immeasurable? (earthscan, 2010).
  3. Blackburn, William. The Sustainability Handbook: The Complete Management Guide to Achieving Social, Economic, and Environmental Responsibility (Environmental Law Institute, 2009).
  4. Dresner, Simon. The Principles of Sustainability (earthscan, 2008).
  5. Edwards, Andres R [Ed]. The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift (New Society Publishers, 2005).
  6. Epstein, Marc. Making Sustainability Work: Best Practices in Managing and Measuring Corporate Social, Environmental, and Economic Impacts (Greenleaf Publishing Limited, 2008).
  7. Savitz, Andrew W with Karl Weber. The Triple Bottom Line (Jossey Bass, 2006).
  8. Schaltegger, Stefan, Martin Bennett, and Roger Burritt. Sustainability Accounting and Reporting (Springer, 2006).
  9. Schaltegger, Stefan and Marcus Wagner. Managing the Business Case for Sustainability: The Integration of Social, Environmental, and Economic Performance (Greenleaf Publishing, 20006).
  10. Timpson, William M., Brian Dunbar, Gailmarie Kimmel, Brett Bruyere, Peter Newman, and Hillary Mizia. 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Sustainability: Connecting the Environment, the Economy, and Society (Atwood Publishing, 2006).
  11. Unerman, Jeffrey, Jan Bebbington, and Brendan O’Dwyer. Sustainability Accounting and Accountability (Routledge, 2007).
  1. Social Accounting
  2. Breisinger, Clemens, Marcelle Thomas, and James Thurlow. Social Accounting Matrices and Multiplier Analysis: An Introduction with Exercises (International Food Policy Research Institute, 2010).
  3. Hewings, Geoffrey J. D. and Moss Madden. Social & Demographic Accounting (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
  4. Quarter, Jack, Laurie Mook, and Betty Jane Richmond. What Counts: Social Accounting for Nonprofits and Cooperatives (Prentice Hall, 2993).
  5. Seidler, Lee J. and Lynn L. Seidler. Social Accounting: Theory, Issues, and Cases (Melville Publishing Company, 1975).
  6. Yanovsky, M. Social Accounting Systems (Aldine Transaction Publishers, 2007).
  1. Environmental Accounting
  2. Epstein, Marc J. Measuring Corporate Environmental Performance: Best Practices for Costing and Managing an Effective Environmental Strategy (Irwin, 1996).
  3. Gray, Rob and Jan Bebbington. Accounting for the Environment (SAGE Publications, 2001).
  4. Hecht, Joy. Lessons Learned from Environmental Accounting: Findings from Nine Case Studies (The World Conservation Union, 2000).
  5. Howes, Rupert. Environmental Cost Accounting: An Introduction and Practical Guide (The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, 2002).
  6. Martinez de Anquita and John Wagner. Environmental Social Accounting Matrices (Routledge, 2010).
  7. Odom, Howard T. Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Environmental Decision Making (John Wiley & Sons, 1996).
  8. Schaltegger, Stefan and Roger Burritt. Contemporary Environmental Accounting: Issues, Concepts, and Practice (Greenleaf Publishing, 2000).
  9. Schaltegger, Stefan, Roger Burritt, and Holger Petersen. An Introduction to Corporate Environmental Management: Striving for Sustainability (Greenleaf Publishing, 2003).
  10. Toms, J. S. Environmental Management, Environmental Accounting, and Financial Performance (The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, 2000).
  11. Uno, Kimio and Peter Bartelmus (editors). Environmental Accounting in Theory and Practice (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2010).

The list of journal articles and similar publications is too numerous to include in this proposal, but would be used to supplement lectures, discussions, and course handout materials. For example, the State of Wisconsin’s recent water management initiatives would be discussed using materials available on the Department of Health and Family (DHFS) Services and Department of Natural Resource (DNR) respective web sites.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is dedicated to a safe, supportive and non-discriminatory learning environment. It is the responsibility of all undergraduate and graduate students to familiarize themselves with University policies regarding Special Accommodations, Academic Misconduct, Religious Beliefs Accommodation, Discrimination and Absence for University Sponsored Events (for details please refer to the Schedule of Classes; the “Rights and Responsibilities” section of the Undergraduate Catalog; the Academic Requirements and Policies and the Facilities and Services sections of the Graduate Catalog; and the “Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures (UWS Chapter 14); and the “Student Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures" (UWS Chapter 17).

Course Objectives and tentative course syllabus with mandatory information(paste syllabus below):

Week / Date / Topic / Reading Assignment (Books) / Reading Assignment (Articles)
1 / 01/18 / Introduction /
  • Syllabus

2 / 01/25 / Introduction to sustainability and environmental accounting / Chapter 17: Sustainability Accounting /
  • What is Sustainability Accounting?
  • The Wide-Open World of Sustainability Accounting
  • Quality costing handouts

3 / 02/01 / Sustainability Reporting / One Report, 1
Triple Bottom Line, 1 and 3
4 / 02/13 / Sustainability Reporting / One Report, 3-4
Triple Bottom Line, 2 /
  • The ‘standardization of sustainability reporting

5 / 02/15 / Sustainability Reporting / One Report, 5
Triple Bottom Line, 4-5 /
  • A Model for Sustainability Reporting
  • Trends in Sustainability Reporting

6 / 02/22 / Sustainability Reporting / One Report, 8
Triple Bottom Line, 6 and 14 /
  • Implementing Sustainability
  • Analyzing Sustainability Impacts

7 / 02/29 / Sustainability Reporting / One Report, 6
Triple Bottom Line, 9 and 13 /
  • The Backlash Against Sustainability
  • Chapter 10: Future Prospects for Corporate Sustainability Reporting

8 / 03/07 / Environmental accounting / Chapter 3: A Guide to Environmental Accounting (Rubenstein)
Chapter 2: The Emergence of Environmental Accounting (Schaltegger and Burritt)
Chapter 4: The Environmental Accounting Framework (Schaltegger and Burritt)
9 / 03/14 / Environmental accounting / Chapter 6: Environmental Management Accounting (Schaltegger and Burritt)
Chapter 7: Environmental Issues in Financial Accounting and Reporting (Schaltegger and Burritt)
10 / 03/21 / Environmental accounting / Chapter 7: Implementing Standard Costing with an Aim to Guiding Behavior in Sustainability Oriented Organizations (Shaltegger, Bennett, and Burritt)
03/28 / Spring Break
11 / 04/04 / Environmental accounting / Chapter 12: Integrating and Reporting an Organization’s Economic, Social, and Environmental Performance: The Expanded Value Added Statement (Shaltegger, Bennett, and Burritt)
12 / 04/10 / Accounting for businesses operating in specific environmental segments / Chapter 8: Costing Systems (Epstein)
Chapter 9: Capital Budgeting (Epstein)
13 / 04/17 / Accounting for businesses operating in specific environmental segments / Chapter 9: Valuation of a Forest (Rubenstein) /
  • Cleaning Up: Part I
  • Cleaning Up: Part II
  • Accounting for Emissions
  • Take home exams distributed

14 / 04/24 / Future Issues / Triple Bottom Line, Epilogue
15 / 05/01 / Corporate Social Reporting (aka, Corporate Civility) / Projects due
05/07 / Take home exams due

Revised 10/021 of 10