About Carol

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

Sustainability reporting policy work

Carol is currently a member of the Project Advisory Panel on Sustainability Reporting to the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Technical Advisory Group for the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative Taxonomy Project.

She is author of The Sustainable Development Goals, integrated thinking and the integrated report and the SDGD Recommendations.

Carol served as Technical Expert in the development of the UNDP SDG Impact Standards (2020-2021) and was also Project Advisor to the UK Government’s Implementation Taskforce on Impact Investing during this period. She is a member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board’s Advisory Panel on Sustainability Reporting and immediate past Chair of the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Stakeholder Council. She was member of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board’s Technical Working Group (2014-2021). She was a member of IIRC’s Capitals Collaboration Group, co-authored the Capitals Background Paper for <IR>.  She was on the project team developing the first AA1000 Framework and the writing team for the AA1000 Assurance Standard. She served as a AccountAbility Council Member (1998-2003), Standards Board Member (2011-2012) and Board Director (2001-2003). She has submitted numerous responses to policy consultations.

Work with professional accounting bodies

Carol is currently Chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountant’s of Scotland’s (ICAS) Sustainability Panel and member of their Policy Leadership Board. She is a member, Public Finance International Advisory Panel, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). She was a member of the ACCA’s Global Forum on Sustainability (2011-2021). She served as a judge for the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards across the UK, Australia and Malaysia between 2001 and 2011.

Advisory work

Carol consults on corporate reporting and integrating sustainability into business practices. Recent assignments have involved assisting clients with integrated reporting, integrated thinking, approach to the Sustainable Development Goals, measuring social impact, sustainability reporting and sustainability leadership.  Clients have included an asset manager (Baillie Gifford), an asset owner (Cbus), bank (Royal Bank of Scotland), asset manager, utility, university, industry body, UN bodies and an education trust. Cbus won reporting awards and their reporting has been influential in their sector.

Board experience

Carol is an experienced Non-Executive Director.  She has served on a number of Boards in the finance, education and not-for-profit sectors, including two public sector boards as a Ministerial appointee.  She currently serves on the Board of Statewide Autistic Services Ltd. 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 Australian Government Scholarship.

Academic work

Carol is Professor of Accounting at Durham University Business School, 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 research has been cited approx. 18,000 times. She also writes for business media and professional journals and has authored reports published by the IIRC, ACCA, CAANZ, ICAS, IFAC, GRI, World Benchmarking Alliance, CIMA and CPA Australia. She is consistently ranked in the world top 50 all time accounting academics.

She is founding editor of the Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal (see below). She is a Research Fellow at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg.

Leadership roles

Carol 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.  As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) she led the development of award winning sustainability reports, management and governance processes. Her senior leadership roles have involved leading 300 staff with revenue budget of AUD$100m; strategic and operational planning and budgeting; business development; change management; developing a cross-institution sustainability management, governance and reporting framework; leading transformational change and capacity building to integrate and embed sustainability competencies to enhance sustainability outcomes through research, teaching, student experience and operations.


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 is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Australian and British citizen. She lives and works in the UK and 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. Its first Impact Factor was 2.200. SAMPJ’s 2020 Impact Factor is 3.354 and Five Year Impact Factor 5.022.