Prison Break From Financialization: The Case of the PRI Reporting and Assessment Framework

Forthcoming in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, DOI (10.1108/AAAJ-02-2020-4439)

39 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2022

See all articles by Diane-Laure Arjaliès

Diane-Laure Arjaliès

Ivey Business School at Western University

Daniela Laurel

Politecnico di Milano

Nicolas Mottis

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE

Date Written: June 8, 2022

Abstract

Purpose: This article seeks to unravel the mechanisms through which financial actors agreed upon a sustainability accounting standard without financializing social and environmental issues, i.e., assigning a monetary value to sustainability.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The article examines the Reporting and Assessment Framework created by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN-PRI), the leading reporting sustainability framework in the asset management industry. It relies on a longitudinal case study that draws upon interviews, participant observation, and archival data.

Findings: The article demonstrates that the conception of the framework was a funnelling process of sustainability valuation comprising two co-constituted mechanisms: a process of valorization – judging what is deemed of value – and a process of evaluation – agreeing on how to assess value. This valuation process unfolded by creating the framework, thanks to two enabling conditions: the creation of non-prescriptive evaluative criteria that avoided financialization and the valuation support of an enabling organization.

Originality/Value: The article helps understand how an industry can encompass the diversity of motives and practices associated with the adoption of sustainability by its economic actors while suggesting a common framework to report on and assess those practices. It uncovers alternatives to the financialization process of sustainability accounting standards. The article also offers insights into the advantages and inconveniences of such a framework. The article enriches the literature in the sociology of valuation, financialization, and sustainability accounting.

Keywords: Financialization, Plurality of Values, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Responsible Investment, Sustainability Accounting, Valuation

JEL Classification: M14, M41, G2

Suggested Citation

Arjaliès, Diane-Laure and Laurel, Daniela and Mottis, Nicolas, Prison Break From Financialization: The Case of the PRI Reporting and Assessment Framework (June 8, 2022). Forthcoming in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, DOI (10.1108/AAAJ-02-2020-4439), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4131605

Diane-Laure Arjaliès (Contact Author)

Ivey Business School at Western University ( email )

London, Ontario
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivey.uwo.ca/faculty/directory/diane-laure-arjalies/

Daniela Laurel

Politecnico di Milano ( email )

Piazza Leonardo da Vinci
Milan, Milano 20100
Italy
+39(02)23994075 (Phone)

Nicolas Mottis

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE ( email )

Route de Saclay
Palaiseau, 91128
France

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