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Accounting for Grand Challenges: The Case of Modern Slavery

National Economics University

E-PhD Program Seminar Series


Accounting for Grand Challenges: The Case of Modern Slavery


 Charles H. Cho, PhD, CPA

Professor of Sustainability Accounting

Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business & Sustainability

Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada


Time and Venue

Time: 3.00PM – 4.00PM

Date: Thursday, 21 December, 2023

Venue: Room 15.01, Level 15, Building A1

National Economics University

207 Giai Phong Road, Hanoi, Vietnam


As society’s awareness of the impacts of business operations grows, organizations are increasingly both choosing, and being compelled, to engage with grand challenges. The accounting profession, key to both collating and analyzing data within organizations and intermediating between firms, has been increasingly involved in addressing grand challenges such as climate change, through its role in social accounting and non-financial disclosure. Modern slavery represents a grand challenge that impacts millions of lives and is the subject of increasing legislation globally, yet the response of the accounting profession to modern slavery is poorly understood. To address this gap, we conduct a qualitative study of representatives of the UK accounting profession to understand the level of engagement of the accounting profession with organizational responses to the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015. Drawing on professional competition theory, our findings suggest a broad disassociation of the profession from modern slavery. We characterize the profession’s lack of proactivity, marginalization of the issue, and its denial of jurisdiction over the issue. We discuss the implications of these findings for the accounting profession, for research on modern slavery, and for professional domains.


Keywords: modern slavery; grand challenges; professions; domains; accounting profession


About presenter

Charles H. Cho is Professor of Sustainability Accounting and the Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business & Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business, York University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a PhD in Business Administration (Accounting Track) from the University of Central Florida. He also worked for KPMG LLP and other public accounting firms for several years in auditing and taxation. His research interests include Social and Environmental Accounting; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); and Accounting and the Public Interest. Professor Cho has published his work in leading academic journals such as Accounting, Auditing and Accountability JournalAccounting, Organizations and SocietyCritical Perspectives on Accounting, the European Accounting Review, and the Journal of Business Ethics. He currently serves as an Editor of Accounting Forum; the Accounting and Business Ethics Section Co-Editor of the Journal of Business Ethics; and as an Associate Editor of Business & Society. He is actively involved in the academic community as a Council member of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research and Chair of its International Associates Committee, is regularly invited as plenary keynote speaker at international conferences and professional events, and solicited by the media. Recently, he was selected as one of the “Top 50 Academic and Research Support Project” from the Republic of Korea’s Prime Minister and Minister of Education; received the Honorable Knight Award from the University of Central Florida’s Hall of Fame; and was recognized as one of the top 2% most cited scholars within discipline worldwide (34th in the world and 1st in Canada) in the Accounting field for 2019.


About series

This seminar series is part of the E-PhD Program at National Economics University. It targets PhD students, early-career researchers, and senior faculty who find interested in doing research in the areas of economics, business, management, and other inter-disciplinary fields of social science. The series is a platform for the wider research community to exchange ideas, networks and collaborations.


Contact details

Bach Ngoc Thang

Seminar series coordinator

Room 15.04, Building A1

Institute for Sustainable Development

National Economics University

207 Giai Phong Road, Hanoi, Vietnam

M: +84 35 443 1750

E:  bnthang@gmail.com, or thangbn@neu.edu.vn

W: http://isd.neu.edu.vn/