Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 21, 2010

Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Meeting

Patricia J. Misutka
Pages 67-78

Measuring Legitimacy
A Preliminary Report on Participation in Social and Environmental Reporting Frameworks among Alberta’s Oilsands Companies

As Oil Sands operators face increasing criticism within the global environmental debate, companies are using a range of global, regional and industry-based measurement frameworks as a means of accounting for environmental impacts and responding to stakeholder pressure. Through examination of an Oil Sands study group, this preliminary study considers the practical role of measurement frameworks in demonstrating sustainability accountability, and ultimately as sources of legitimacy. But responsiveness to stakeholders is not even across frameworks. Those most tied to the economic performance and investor audiences have momentum. While frameworks based on investor demand may have significant power in swaying compliance, their selfreported measures contain little oversight and do little to move disclosures out of the PR suite.