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Professor Carol Adams

Director of PhD Programme, Professor of Accounting


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Director of PhD Programme, Professor of Accounting in the Business SchoolMHL347+44 (0) 191 33 45425
Fellow in the Centre for Sustainable Development Law and Policy  


Professor Carol Adams MSc PhD CA FAICD is an internationally recognised researcher in corporate accounting and reporting and its role in the relationships between business, society and the environment. Her research has been published in Accounting Organizations and Society, Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal, British Accounting Review, European Accounting Review, Accounting and Business Research, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Abacus, Sustainability Accounting Management and Policy Journal, Financial Accountability and Management, Accounting Forum, Business Strategy and Environment

Carol’s work has accrued approx. 20,000 citations and her Google Scholar H Index is 52. Her 2002 and 2004 sole authored articles are the 8th and 11th most cited articles in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal where she has four of the top 40 cited papers published in the journal’s 30 year history. She also has the 2nd most cited article in the British Accounting Review; the 4th most cited article in Critical Perspectives in Accounting; the 5th most cited article in Accounting Forum; and, the 5th and 7th most cited articles in the Sustainability Accounting Management and Policy Journal 

Carol has received research funding from the Australian Research Council, ESRC, UNCTAD-ISAR and several international professional accounting bodies. 

Carol is Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal which she established to promote research that addresses practice and policy issues capable of improving the relationships between accounting, organisations and sustainable development. 

Carol has sought to advance practice and policy with respect to integrating sustainability considerations into organisations through applied research, leadership, standard setting, advisory work and educating the next generation of business leaders for over two decades. She has authored several industry/professional reports, has made submissions to numerous public consultations and writes on her website at 

Policy influencing work

Carol is currently Chair of the Global Reporting Initative's (GRI) Global Sustainability Standards Board, a member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board's Sustainability Reporting Project Advisory Panel. She served as technical expert to the UNDP's SDG Impact Team in 2020 and 2021 contributing to the development of SDG Impact Standards. She is a past Chair of GRI's Stakeholder Council, on which she served from 2013-2019). She is currently Chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland’s (ICAS) Sustainability Panel and member of their Policy Leadership Board. She is also currently a member of the Taxonomy Advisory Group for the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative. She served on the ACCA's Global Forum on Sustainability (2011-2021) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s Technical Working Group (2015-2021). She was a member of the International Integrated Reporting Council’s Capitals Technical Collaboration Group.

Advisory work

Carol consults to multi-national companies and other organisaitons on corporate reporting and integrating sustainability into business practices. She is currently working with CIPFA to update their public sector sustainablity reporting guidelines. Recent assignments include work with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Cbus Superannuation Fund (Australia) and Baillie Gifford.

Background and Leadership

Carol has a financial audit background with KPMG and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with ICAS. She holds an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and a PhD in International Corporate Reporting from the University of Glasgow. She has held senior management positions in Universities including as Head of School, Faculty Acting Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) and has previously held Professor of Accounting positions at Monash University and the University of Glasgow. She has served on a number of Boards in the finance, education and not-for-profit sectors. She has also served as a member of the Sustainability Advisory Board for Fuji Xerox Australia and Sustainability Leadership Advisor to the Commonwealth Education Trust. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD). She is an Honorary Research Fellow at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg.


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Mini Biography

Professor Carol Adams MSc PhD CA FAICD is an internationally recognised researcher in corporate accounting and reporting and its role in the relationships between business, society and the environment. She is founding editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal.

Research interests

  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Corporate reporting
  • Integrated reporting
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Integrating sustainability into corporate practices

Esteem Indicators

  • 2023: Chair, Global Sustainability Standards Board, GRI:
  • 2022: Member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board's Sustainability Reporting Advisory Panel:
  • 2021: Chair, Sustainability Panel, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland since 2021 (member since2014):
  • 2021: Member, Policy Leadership Board, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland since 2021:
  • 2020: Member, Public Finance International Advisory Panel, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy since 2020:
  • 2020: Technical Expert, UNDP SDG Impact Team 2020-2021:
  • 2019: Chair, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Stakeholder Council 2017-2019:
  • 2015: Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors:
  • 2015: Member, Climate Disclosure Standards Board Technical Working Group 2015-2021:
  • 2013: Member, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Stakeholder Council 2013-2019:
  • 2011: Member, Global Sustainability Forum, ACCA, 2011-2021:
  • 2011: Winner: Best First Time report, ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards 2011: Led the team that developed the report as PVC (Sustainability) at La Trobe University
  • 2009: Founding Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal:

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Business matters: corporate reporting, sustainability reporting, United Nations SDGs, accounting for sustainable development, integrated reporting, corporate governance


Authored book

  • Adams, C.A. (2015). Understanding Integrated Reporting: A concise guide to integrated thinking and the future of corporate reporting. Do Sustainability.
  • Gray, R., Adams, C.A. & Owen, D. (2014). Accounting, Social Responsibility and Sustainability: Accounting for Society and the Planet. Pearson.
  • Adams, C.A. & Frost, G. (2004). The Development of Corporate Web-Sites and implications for Ethical, Social and Environmental Reporting through these Media. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).
  • Gray, R.H., Owen, D.L. & Adams, C.A. (2003). Accounting and Accountability: Changes and Challenges in Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting. Tokyo: Hakuto-shobo Publishing Company.
  • Gray, R.H., Owen, D.L & Adams, C.A. (1996). Accounting and Accountability: Changes and Challenges in Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting. New Jersey: Prentice Hall International.

Chapter in book

  • Adams, C. A. (2022). Accounting and Sustainability: An Introduction. In Handbook of Accounting and Sustainability. Adams, C. A. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
  • Wijesinghe, N., Abhayawansa, S. & Adams C. A. (2022). Reporting on key performance indicators relating to non-financial capitals: Evidence from Sri Lankan integrated report preparers. In Integrated Reporting (IR): Business Cases for Sustainability. Senaratne, S., Gunarathne, N. & Lee, K-H Springer.
  • Adams, C. A., Alhamood, A. M. He, X. Tian, J. Wang, L. & Wang, Y. (2022). The development and implementation of GRI Standards: practice and policy issues. In Handbook of Accounting and Sustainability. Adams, C. A. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
  • Adams, C, Hoque, Z. & McNicholas, P. (2018). Case studies and action research. In Methodological issues in accounting research. Hoque, Z. Spiramus.
  • Rob, G, Adams, C & Owen D (2018). Social and Environmental Accounting and the Critical Accounting Project(s): In search of creative tension? In The Routledge Companion of Critical Accounting. Roslender, R. London: Routledge. 241-257.
  • Gray, R.H Owen, D. & Adams, C.A. (2010). Some theory for social accounting? A review essay and a tentative pedagogic categorisation of theorisations around social accounting. In Civil Economy, Democracy, Transparency and Social and Environmental Accounting Research Role. Baldarelli, M-G. McGraw-Hill: Rome.
  • Gray, R., Owen, D. & Adams, C. (2009). Some theories for social accounting?: A review essay and a tentative pedagogic categorisation of theorisations around social accounting. In Sustainability, Environmental Performance and Disclosures. Freedman, Martin & Jaggi, Bikki Bingley: Emerald. 4: 1-54.
  • Adams, C.A. & Narayaran, V.A. (2007). The standardisation of sustainability reporting. In Sustainability Accounting and Accountability. Unerman, J., O'Dwyer, B. & Bebbington, J. Routledge: Oxford.
  • Adams, C.A., Hoque, Z. & McNicholas, P. (2006). Case studies and action research. In Methodological Issues in Accounting Research: Theories and Methods. Hoque, Z. Spiramus Press: Biggleswade. 361-373.
  • Adams, C.A. & Zutshi, A. (2005). Corporate disclosure and auditing. In Ethical Consumer. Harrison, R., Newholm, T. & Shaw, D. Sage: Thousand Oaks. 207-217.
  • Guthrie, J. & Adams, C.A. (2005). Social and environmental reporting. In Environmental Management and Decision-Making for Business. Staib, R. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke. 159-165.
  • Weetman, P., Jones, E., Adams, C.A. & Gray, S.J. (2004). Measurement in UK accounting standards: a case of increasing disharmony in relation to US GAAP and IASs. In Developments in International Accounting: International Harmonization of Accounting. Nobes, C.W. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham.
  • Adams, C.A., Weetman, P., Jones, E. & Fray, S.J. (2004). Reducing the burden of US GAAP reconciliations by foreign companies listed in the US: the key question of materiality. In Developments in International Accounting: General Issues and Classification. Nobes, C.W. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Adams, C.A., Frost, G. & Webber, W. (2004). Triple bottom line reporting: a review of the literature. In The Triple Bottom Line: Does it all Add Up?. Henriques, A. & Richardson, J. Earthscan. 17-25.
  • Adams, C.A., Frost, G. & Gray, S.J. (2003). Corporate environmental and social reporting. In International Finance and Accounting Handbook. Choi, F.D.S. John Wiley: Oxford. Chapter 23.
  • Gray, R.H., Owen, D.L. & Adams, C.A. (2001). What is social accounting? In Earthscan Reader in Business and Sustainable Development. Starkey, R. & Welford, R. Earthscan: London. 122-125.
  • Roberts, C.B., Gray, S.J. & Adams, C.A. (1997). Corporate social and non-financial disclosures. In Handbook of International Accounting and Finance. Choi, F.D.S. & Mueller, G. John Wiley: Oxford.
  • Adams, C.A. (1996). The IASC's comparability project: will it bridge the divide between UK and US GAAP? In Readings in International Accounting. Blake, J. & Hossain, M. International Thomson Business Press: London. 111-117.
  • Adams, C.A. & Roberts, C.B. (1994). The International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC): a role playing case to determine the possible future agenda for the IASC. In International Accounting: A Case Approach. Schweikart, J., Gray, S.J. & Roberts, C.B. McGraw Hill: London. 138-145.

Edited book

  • Adams, C.A. & Roberts, C.B. (1996). Financial Reporting By Multinationals. Library o International Accounting Series (Series Editor CW Nobes). Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham.

Journal Article


  • Adams, C. A., Druckman, P. B. & Picot, R. C. (2020). Sustainable Development Goal Disclosure (SDGD) Recommendations. ACCA, Chartered Accountants ANZ, ICAS, IFAC, IIRC and WBA.
  • Adams, C.A. (2020). Sustainable Development Goal Disclosure (SDGD) Recommendations: Feedback on the consultation responses. ACCA, IIRC and WBA.
  • Adams, C, Picot, R & Druckman, P (2019). Recommendations for SDG Disclosures: A consultation paper. CAS.
  • Adams, C.A. (2018). Let's talk value: How universities create value for students, staff and society. Advanced HE.
  • Adams, C A. (2017). The Sustainable Development Goals, integrated thinking and the integrated report. London: IIRC and ICAS.
  • Grosser, K., Adams, C.A. & Moon, J. (2008). Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace: A study of corporate disclosure. London: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
  • Hoque, Z. & Adams, C.A. (2008). Measuring and Reporting Performance of Government Departments in Australia. Melbourne: CPA Australia: Melbourne.
  • Adams, C.A. & Harte, G.F. (1999). Towards Corporate Accountability for Equal Opportunities Performance. London: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
  • Adams, C.A. (1999). The Nature and Processes of Corporate Reporting on Ethical Issues. London: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
  • Adams, C.A., Hill, W.Y. & Roberts, C.B. (1995). Environmental, Employee and Ethical Reporting in Europe. London: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
  • Adams, C.A., Weetman, P. & Gray, S.J. (1993). Issues in International Accounting Harmonisation: the Significance of UK/US Accounting Differences and Implications for the IASC's Comparability Project. London: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Adams, Carol A (2022). What Next? Agreement on a Two-Pillar Approach to Sustainability Reporting. ESG Investor
  • Adams, Carol A (2022). Investors Need Sustainable Development Thinking. ESG Investor
  • Adams, C A. (2021). A prototype climate disclosure standard with a flawed conceptual framework. Responsible Investor
  • Adams, Carol A (2021). Explainer: The Global Reporting Initiative and the GSSB’s sustainability reporting standards – what you need to know. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
  • Adams, C. (2021). Sustainability reporting and trust in banks. The Banker
  • Adams, C.A. & Abhayawansa, S. (2021). We studied the world's top airlines and hospitality firms – many are still poor at reporting risks around climate and pandemics.
  • Adams, Carol A (2021). No Investment Returns on a Dead Planet. ESG Investor
  • Adams, C A. & Cho, C H. (2020). Sustainable development is too important for political posturing. Responsible Investor
  • Adams, C A. (2020). Accountants can help meet the Sustainable Development Goals. CIMA Insights
  • Adams, C A. (2020). Neurodiversity at work benefits everyone – why companies are hiring autistic people. The Conversation
  • Adams, C A. (2020). Europe needs mandatory non-financial reporting to underpin COVID recovery. EURACTIV
  • Adams Carol, (2020). Investors are asking the wrong questions on sustainability. Financial Times
  • Adams, C (2018). How does responsible investing fit with the SDGs? ESG Magazine
  • Adams, C (2018). Non execs need the right skills for effective integrated reporting. Board Agenda
  • Adams, C (2016). How Integrated Reporting can help boards understand ESG risk: lessons from South Africa and Australia.
  • Adams, C (2015). The evolution of corporate reporting. Communication Director
  • Adams, C. (2015). VW Scandal: ethics versus profit. Economia
  • Adams, C.A. & Weldin, K. (2014). What is sustainability reporting? And what has it got to do with the CFO? CFO India (November-December 2014): 68-69.
  • Adams, C.A. (2014). Changing the way business is done: A critical review of two South African integrated reports. The Sustainability and Integrated Reporting Handbook 1
  • Adams, C.A. (2013). The role of leadership and governance in transformational change towards sustainability. Global Responsibility September 2013(9).
  • Adams, C.A. (2011). Sustainability reporting key to long-term viability. Keeping Good Companies 63(9): 569-570.
  • Adams, C.A. (2011). Sustainability comes first. Mining Chronicle (August.).
  • Adams, C.A. (2009). Why corporate disclosure on diversity issues matters. Finance 50-52.
  • Adams, C.A., Burritt, R. & Frost, G. (2008). Environmental management. Financial Management (September.): 43-44.
  • Adams, C.A. & Frost, G. (2006). CSR Reporting. Financial Management (June.): 34-36.
  • Adams, C.A. (2005). The ethical, social and environmental reporting portrayal gap. The Corporate Citizen 5(1): 13-16
  • Adams, C.A. (2004). Triple bottom line reporting. The Big Picture: How the Environmental Influences Corporate Profit 47.
  • Zutshi, A. & Adams, C.A. (2004). Voluntary guidelines: are they enough to sustain the environment? Alternative Law Journal 29(1): 23-26.
  • Adams, C.A. (2001). Green fingers. Financial Management (April): 42.
  • Adams, C.A. (2001). Better environmental reporting is the key. European Chemical News, Responsible Care Supplement (April): 24-25.
  • Adams, C.A. & Laing, Y. (2000). How to research a company. Social and Environmental Accounting 20(2): 6-11.
  • Adams, C.A. (2000). [Opinion article on accountability] Help firms to open up. Times Higher Education 3rd(November): 18.
  • Adams, C. (2000). The ISEA professional qualification. AccountAbility Quarterly: innovation, learning and performance 12: 2-3.
  • Adams, C.A. (2000). Responsible Care in changing times. AccountAbility Quarterly 14: 24.
  • Adams, C.A. (2000). Ethical Reporting: past and future. Management Accounting 78(2): 48-50.
  • Adams, C.A. (2000). The extent of stakeholder engagement and AA1000. AccountAbility Quarterly 12: 24-25.
  • Adams, C.A. (1999). Greater accountability: a role for AA1000. AccountAbility Quarterly: innovation, learning and performance 11: 5-6.
  • Adams, C.A. (1999). Reporting on equal opportunities: could do better. Accounting and Business (members supplement) September: 14-15.
  • Adams, C.A., Hill, W.Y. & Roberts, C.B. (1995). Social and environmental reporting in Europe. Social and Environmental Accounting 15(1): 2-3.
  • Adams, C.A., Ironside, C. & Milner, M.M. (1994). Improving teaching and learning at the University of Glasgow through the use of computers. Account 6(3): 32-34.
  • Adams, C.A. (1992). Too wide a GAAP. Certified Accountant (July): 39-41.


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