The Role of XBRL on EMAS Reporting: An Analysis of Organisational Values Compatibility

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Abstract

This paper proposes a measurement method for assessing the extent to which the XBRL digital standard eXtensible Business Reporting Language can assist firms in implementing their reporting when applying EMAS The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. A specific survey based on the work of (Bunker et al., 2007), which uses Value Compatibility, was carried out at the most important firms in Southern Spain. Different sectors were involved in the study: public hospital, copper manufacturing facilities, petrochemical plant and pulp and renewable energy production. The results reveal some concordances between EMAS using XBRL as a reporting technology, and the cultural, organisational and technical working environment of the analysed firms, specifically those related to the Structural Dimension. By contrast, some discordance is highlighted related to the Practical Dimension. The paper proposes for the first time the application of the global financial standard XBRL for a non financial purpose like the widely accepted EMAS, to actual potential uses in real scenarios. The empirical research combined heavy industry with services, privately owned firms with public entities, private and public sector, in the analysis of this technology. The paper represents a necessary landmark for a subsequent longitudinal study.

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