THE RESPONSE OF STATUTORY FINANCIAL AUDITORS IN LIBYA TO ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: AN INITIAL AND EXPLORATORY STUDY
NASSR SALEH MOHAMAD AHMAD, ACADEMY OF GRADUATE STUDIES, LIBYA
KAMAL ABD AL-SALAM MOHMES, AL-ZAUTONA UNIVERSITY, LIBYA
Aim – The consideration of Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) has been in existence for more than a decade now, rising to prominence as a result of the upsurge in Environmental Auditing (EA). Despite the many international claims that auditors are positioned to play a pivotal role in the design and conduct of EA, no previous study has been undertaken in the Libyan context.
Purpose – This study thus seeks to gain insights into the preparedness of Libyan financial auditors to handle EA within the conventional auditing framework.
Design/methodology/approach – This study comprises an exploration of the views and experience of 93 practitioners in the 27 largest auditing offices in Tripoli. The questionnaire chosen for this study was pre-tested by nine members of staff in accounting departments at Libyan universities, and eleven practitioners. The final Arabic copies of the questionnaire were distributed in the final survey. The number of questionnaires distributed was 93. The response rate was 87.1 per cent (usable questionnaires: 81).
Findings – The results of this study are reflective of contemporary international studies, suggesting that although the Libyan financial auditors recognised the influence of environmental issues on the different stages of auditing, they are conspicuously absent from EA. This can be attributed to (1) their lack of competence in such areas; (2) a lack of professional standards and guidance; (3) a lack of research in this area; (4) EA not being required by law; (5) limited public demand for environmental reports; and (6) the low level of environmental disclosure by Libyan companies.
Originality/value – It is envisaged that this initial study will add to the limited literature on EA in developing countries and provide a useful framework for further studies, especially those in the Arabic region.
Keywords Corporate environmental responsibility, Environmental auditing, Libyan financial auditors, Environmental disclosure.
Paper type Exploratory study