Exploring the Attitudes of CFOs Towards Carbon Tax Policy

Okafor O. N., Opara M., Maier C., Kalu K.

Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, vol.43, no.3, pp.202-234, 2023 (Scopus) identifier


© 2022 Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research.While climate change is a serious concern for firms and the society, scepticism remains an obstacle in the implementation of an effective emission-reducing carbon pricing policy in many countries. The support for carbon tax as a climate policy can be influenced by interest groups that hold significant power or bear substantial costs. This study draws on the attitude–behaviour–context (ABC) framework and a survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) in Canada and the United States to explore the attitudinal orientations of CFOs towards the environment, and how these attitudes relate to support for carbon tax as a climate policy. Our study identifies four value factors (altruism, egoism, traditionalism and self-transcendence) and two belief factors (environmentalism and anti-regulation) as the attitudinal orientations of CFOs. The results of applying a partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM), including mediation and moderated mediation models, show that certain aspects of these values and beliefs relate to support for carbon tax. The results suggest that CFOs largely support carbon tax, and thus refute the findings in prior studies that accountants are unsupportive stakeholders. The study also highlights the roles that CFOs can play, arguing that their involvement may improve consistency and accuracy in carbon accounting.