Heart-wrenching disasters like last year’s factory collapse that killed hundreds of workers in Bangladesh bring to light the impact of buying from companies that sell products made in unacceptable conditions.
However for consumers to practice socially responsible they need corporations to be honest and accountable as well. Amanda Mesluk’s research project with co-investigator and fellow commerce student Raven White, “Corporate Reporting in the Information Revolution,” expresses the corporate world’s need to demonstrate their value beyond making money.
The fourth-year Bachelor of Commerce student became interested in accounting while working as the general manager of a wine bar. Originally believing her talents rested in the softer side of business, like experiential marketing, her position as general manager revealed her financial and analytical skills. After taking a few of the accounting classes within her program, she saw the career potential the profession offered and decided accounting was a great fit.
Since declaring her major in accounting, Amanda has developed a passion for reporting and wants to combine her passion and her accounting skills to help businesses report their contributions beyond revenues earned. “It’s a great way for a company to tell their story, rather than having a label slapped on them,” she explains.
It’s good for the rest of us too. “As consumers, that information is readily available and you know where your product is coming from and where your money is going” she points out. Sometimes this is referred to as CSR (corporate social responsibility), ESG (environmental social governance), the stakeholder model or the shared value. No matter what it’s called, the new bottom line for business is accountability to the public.
Amanda’s interest in corporate reporting has also led her to get involved in sustainability at MacEwan University. She admits she initially had no idea what sustainability had to do with reporting. However, she’s learned sustainability isn’t just about the environment; it’s also about companies working with and supporting communities. A company’s ability to succeed long-term is tied to the expectations the public has for corporate accountability and transparency.
Amanda sees the potential for many new jobs to be created in the next 10 years because of the evolution of corporate reporting, and she encourages students to investigate their options by getting involved in initiatives like the sustainability events on campus.
She also encourages students to take advantage of any opportunities to get involved in research. “Being a university is an advantage because we have research. That’s where it really happens.”
Amanda and co-author Raven White will be presenting this research along with many other students at this year's Student Research, Scholarly Activity and Creative Achievement Showcase Week at City Centre Campus January 27 to 31.
Contributed by Danica Erickson, Public Relations student.