What is sustainability? Is the notion of sustainability relevant to business and accounting?
Since its inception in 1986, Tassal has become Australia’s largest salmon farmer, harvesting over 12,000 tonnes of salmon annually. Tassal is a significant employer in Tasmania, providing employment for over 800 people. Tassal operate three main hatcheries to produce smolt (young salmon). They have six marine regions, in which they keep salmon in large sea cages until they are ready to be harvested. Tassal have three processing sites where the finished product is processed. Recently, Tassal has expanded operations to Macquarie Harbour, a large harbor which is adjacent to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Currently Tassal is undergoing steps to operate a new marine farm and processing plant in Okehampton Bay (Source: Tassal website). These expansions have caused some controversy in the local Tasmanian community. You have been employed by the company. the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tassal assigned three independent but related tasks to you. The three tasks are as follows.
(Note: Tassal is a real-life entity. All of your research, analysis, discussions and recommendations relating to this case study should be based on real world information and condition.)
While Tassal has been producing sustainability reports since 2011, the CEO has noticed an emerging and increasing trend of controversy about Tassal’s sustainability frameworks from the broader community of Tasmania and Australia. Tassal’s sustainability reports are recognised as best practice, however it continues to be the subject of concern regarding its environmental impact. The CEO feels that at the moment he does not know how to address this concern. He is also considering whether Tassal should adapt its sustainable frameworks and practices, and how it would go about doing so. He has asked you to conduct research and provide a formal business report to him, addressing the following questions.
- What is sustainability? Is the notion of sustainability relevant to business and accounting? Justify your answer.
- Is the notion of sustainability relevant to the aquaculture industry in which Tassal operates? Justify your answer.
- What are the specific sustainability issues that Tassal is facing? Justify your answer.
- If sustainability is relevant to Tassal, how might Tassal embrace sustainability in its operations? Justify your recommendations.
Your submission should include:
- Cover page includes the course name, assignment name, your name, student number, lecturer’s name, and word count (excluding executive summary, table of contents, references and appendices)
- Executive Summary
- Table of contents
- Introduction (including purpose, scope, limitations and assumptions)
- Discussion (addressing CEO’s requirements)
- Conclusion g. List of References (at least 10 references that are not included in the textbook are expected, within these outside-of-textbook references minimum 5 academic refereed journal articles should be listed)
Particular expectations relating to each question:
- What is sustainability? Is the notion of sustainability relevant to business and accounting? Justify your answer. When defining sustainability and arguing the relevance of sustainability to business and accounting, your answer is expected to go beyond course materials – you are expected to draw from your research, and to explicitly link the importance of sustainability in business and accounting practices. You are expected to search for discussions from different parties (e.g., business leaders, international organisations, politicians, or various interest groups) as well as academic journals. Your discussion also needs to consider the changing and heightened social expectations on business operations. In doing so, you also need to discuss the relationships between accounting, accountability and sustainability.
- Is the notion of sustainability relevant to aquaculture industry in which Tassal operates? Justify your answer. In this part, you are expected to link sustainability to the aquaulture industry. This involves researching, identifying and analysing sustainability issues in the industry at the world level and in Australia, the expectations (in general) from the stakeholders, and the competitors of Tassal. You will need to look for evidence of what other business entities are doing as they pertain to sustainability (e.g., which competitors are currently adopting a particular framework and practice or producing sustainability reports). Particular industry initiatives or frameworks need to be addressed.
- Is the notion of sustainability relevant to Tassal? Justify your answer. In this part, you are expected to explicitly link sustainability to Tassal. This involves researching and analysing the current market position and sustainable practices of Tassal, particular issues that Tassal is facing, as well as the expectations from its stakeholders. You will need to analyse the strength as well as future opportunities or improvements for your entity.
- If sustainability is relevant to Tassal, how might Tassal embrace sustainability in its operations? Justify your recommendations. Your discussion is expected to be based on your work on the previous three questions. Your recommendations should be specific. Avoid offering recommendations that are too general (e.g., ‘Tassal should embrace sustainability practices’ without further detail), less relevant to Tassal, or not realistic to implement.