From economic balance sheet to ethical and environmental reporting in the evolution of the modern corporation

Ubaldo Comite -


The enterprise is a social phenomenon which is unstable, dynamic and rarely attributed to a coordinated and unitary system. Recurrent financial scandals involving shareholders, partners and investors, prove that positive or negative valuations cannot be based on company profitability as the only parameter. It is now widely believed that companies should communicate their activities to make their work visible and shareable. Communication reveals the basic values of a company, its competencies, its aims and the results achieved, representing a means to build trustworthy and cooperative relationships with stakeholders.

The evolution of a business from its assets and liabilities statement to its ethical-environmental account indicates, on the one hand, the complex of values, which are not exclusively of economic nature, to which the company conforms its conduct, on the other hand, the guidelines which mark the relationships with the various people involved. The denomination of an ethical-environmental balance-sheet points out the essence of a business through its economic, social and political-institutional dimension. For the ethicalenvironmental balance-sheet to be reliable and to prevent it from becoming an self-referential and image document, it is opportune to refer to relationships between the company and the collectivity in general, considering the management of a company during a specific reference period of administration. Furthermore, it is necessary to bear in mind that an ethical-environmental balance-sheet, despite being a final balance document, must also sketch the developmental lines of future relationships between businesses and environment.

My work is intended to illustrate the peculiarities of an ethical-environmental balance-sheet, describing the reference values to which companies conform their conduct, as well as their aims and guidelines which integrate the traditional relation on management.


business, balance-sheet, ethics, environment, accounting.

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Registered by the Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia N. 685/2007 R.S.P. – electronic ISSN 2038-5498


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