Early forms of accounting for sustainable development: The Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the XVI and XVII centuries

Journal title CONTABILITÀ E CULTURA AZIENDALE
Author/s Michele Bigoni, Zeila Occhipinti
Publishing Year 2024 Issue 2023/2 Language English
Pages 25 P. 9-33 File size 139 KB
DOI 10.3280/CCA2023-002002
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Introduction: The paper explores early forms of accounting for sustainable development by considering the Grand Duchy of Tuscany when it was under the rule of Cosimo I, Francesco I, Ferdinando I and Cosimo II de Medici. Aim of the work: The study shows how accounting practices were crucial means used by the Medici rulers to monitor the implementation of far-reaching environmental strategies that sought to balance civil and economic development with the need to protect the environment. Methodological approach: The work draws upon primary sources located at the State Archive of Pisa. Their interpretation has been informed by the literature that has explored the role of the State in promoting sustainable development and the place of accounting in this endeavour. Main findings: Accounting provided the Grand Dukes with crucial information on the Pisan territory, which enabled them to act on environmental matters to provide citizens with healthy and safe living conditions. Written information also allowed interventions that shaped the way in which citizens engaged with the environment so that human activity would not endanger natural resources. Originality: The paper offers a novel perspective on how accounting can support interventions by States which seek to promote sustainable development. It also provides evidence of very early forms of environmental accounting that were mobilised by a State which deeply cared for safeguarding nature.

Keywords: accounting, sustainability, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, power, state, Pisa.

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Michele Bigoni, Zeila Occhipinti, Early forms of accounting for sustainable development: The Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the XVI and XVII centuries in "CONTABILITÀ E CULTURA AZIENDALE" 2/2023, pp 9-33, DOI: 10.3280/CCA2023-002002