About Carol

Carol Adams’ work is concerned with the role of accounting and reporting in the relationships between business, society and the environment. For over two decades she 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.

She has been involved in various global corporate reporting initiatives and is currently a member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative and a member of the Capitals Technical Collaboration Group for the International Integrated Reporting Council. She served as a Director and Council Member of AccountAbility and was involved in the development of the first AA1000 Framework. She is a member of the ACCA’s Global Forum on Sustainability, the Institute of Chartered Accountant’s of Scotland’s (ICAS) Sustainability Committee and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s Technical Working Group.

Carol consults to multinational corporations and other organisations on corporate reporting and integrating sustainability into business practices. Recent assignments have included work with Royal Bank of Scotland and Dairy Australia on sustainability reporting, a utility company and Cbus Superannuation fund on integrated reporting. (The Cbus Annual Integrated Report 2016 won the AIST’s best corporate report award.) Carol has led the development of  award winning sustainability reports, management and governance processes (details below).

Carol 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) and is a graduate of their Company Directors and the Mastering the Boardroom courses having won an Aust. Govt. scholarship for the latter.

Carol is Professor of Accounting at Durham University Business School in the UK.  A number of her articles in academic accounting journals of international standing are ranked in the top 20 most cited articles in the journal in which they are published and her work has been in the news.  Her work has been cited over 9,000 times. She also writes for business media and professional journals.

She is founding editor of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal to publish rigorous research which influences practice and policy. She is Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria and Honorary Research Fellow at Leuphana  Universität Lüneburg.

Carol has a financial audit background qualifying as a member of ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) with KPMG. 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 Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) and has previously held Professor of Accounting positions at Monash University and the University of Glasgow.

She is an Australian and British citizen.

Sustainability reports which Carol has led

As university Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability), Carol led the development of sustainability management and governance processes. The 2010 sustainability report Responsible Futures won ‘Best First Time report’ award at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Sustainability Reporting Awards 2011 (press release here), best first time report across all sectors in the global Corporate Register Reporting Awards 2012 and runner up in the sustainability reporting category in the Australasian reporting awards 2012Creating Futures, a second sustainability report, was ranked fifth in the best overall report category in the Corporate Register Reporting Awards 2013 competing against experienced multinational reporters.  In addition, it was ranked 5th for relevance and materiality, 8th for honesty and openness and 2nd for credibility through assurance. Carol has assisted clients with corporate reporting strategy, frameworks and processes.

Contributions to thought leadership published by global bodies

Carol was involved in the teams which developed and wrote:

IIRC (2013) Capitals Background paper for <IR>

UN Global Compact (2012) Practical Guide to the United Nations Global Compact for Higher Education Institutions

Global Reporting Initiative/International Finance Corporation (World Bank) (2009) Embedding Gender in Sustainability Reporting: a Practitioners’ Guide

AccountAbility (1999) AA1000 Framework

In addition Carol was Chair of the External Feedback Committee for the GRI’s 2011 sustainability report and 2012 annual review.

Carol has authored reports published by the IIRC, ACCA, ICAS, CIMA and CPA Australia.

The Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

Carol is Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal (SAMPJ). The Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal aims to find solutions to improve the social and environmental sustainability performance of (private, public sector and non-governmental) organisations and societies. It provides a forum for thought leadership pieces and quality research contributions with practice and policy implications concerning the interactions between social and environmental sustainability, accounting, management and policy. It has a high profile international editorial board. SAMPJ was first published in 2010, was indexed on SCOPUS after three years and accepted into SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) in 2017 for its contribution to the field of social and environmental sustainability.