Bringing tropical forest biodiversity conservation into financial accounting calculation

Thomas Cuckston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper seeks to examine how the biodiversity comprising a tropical forest ecosystem is being protected as a result of having its conservation brought into financial accounting calculations by constructing a greenhouse gas emissions offset product to sell on the voluntary over-the-counter carbon markets. Design/methodology/approach: The research examines a single embedded case study of a biodiversity conservation project in Kenya. The resulting discussion builds upon the existing accounting and organisation studies literature regarding the construction of markets. Findings: Whilst the case examined does successfully bring tropical forest biodiversity conservation into the financial accounting calculations of the sellers and buyers of the offset product, via processes of objectification and singularisation, there are considerable accounting obstacles to constructing a calculative mechanism capable of achieving this on a global scale to facilitate financing of the conservation of all the world's remaining tropical forest biodiversity. Originality/value: The paper contributes to the debate on accounting for biodiversity by examining market construction as a theoretical framework for turning the loss/conservation of biodiversity from an externality into an entity that is taken into account in organisations' calculations of profit and loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-714
Number of pages27
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Biodiversity
  • Carbon
  • Conservation
  • Financial accounting
  • Kenya
  • Market construction
  • Sustainable development


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