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What is the bottom line?

What is the bottom line?

A one-off panel discussion on the role of sustainability in corporate reporting is to launch a collaborative research programme between Victoria University and Landcare Research on Thursday 15 July.

Triple Bottom Line: a Fad or Essential to Good Governance? will be led by Professor Jan Bebbington from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is working with the Victoria/Landcare Research team to develop techniques and strategies to help New Zealand look after its resources for future generations - while maintaining positive economic and social development.

Professor Bebbington is a New Zealand-born and trained accountant who has specialised in triple bottom line approaches to corporate reporting and the development of sustainability strategy. She will speak on how sustainability has rapidly moved up the public policy agenda and how corporate governance is being affected by the sustainability agenda.

The panel discussion will be followed by the launch of the six-year project, Building Capacity for Sustainable Development – The Enabling Research. The collaborative venture is funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and will contribute to initiatives in the public and private sectors which are leading the change to more sustainable development in New Zealand.

Victoria’s research in the partnership will be carried out at its School of Accounting and Commercial Law. Leader of the project within Victoria, Associate Professor Judy Brown, says the project has the potential to contribute significant practical and theoretical advances to the sustainable development field, nationally and internationally.

"Developing a more interactive approach to accounting will help people with quite different perspectives engage in more informed discussion and debate around the sustainability agenda".

Dr Richard Gordon of Landcare Research says sustainable development demands a change of thinking and behaviour, compared to “business as usual”.

“It’s a change that needs us to look for synergies and win-wins rather than trade-offs, between the environment, society, and economic development. The project develops and evaluates a range of techniques for making such changes.”

One of these techniques is the sustainability assessment method (SAM) for infrastructure projects, being developed in partnership with Professor Bebbington. SAM evaluates full lifecycle impacts of the project, reveals the indirect impacts and presents the trade-offs created by the project. SAM also makes it easier for people to see the connections between environment, society, and economy, and to evaluate alternative approaches.

Media are invited to attend the seminar and launch on Thursday 15 July. - Triple Bottom Line: a Fad or Essential to Good Governance? Thursday 15 July 2004, 4.40 - 6pm, Lecture Theatre 2, Rutherford House, 23 Lambton Quay - Launch of Landcare Research/ Victoria University FRST Research Project Boardroom of Rutherford House, Level 12, 6pm. Please RSVP to or telephone 04 463 5078.

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