The Social and Environmental Accounting literature has utilized the conception of the Anthropocene to conceptualize the socio-ecological challenges of our time. We propose instead an alternate conception of a capitalocene built on a plantationocene as a better way to account for the human induced destruction of the web of life of the natural world and its guardians the indigenous peoples of the world. In doing so we engage with the pseudo accountability of the systems of global governance that has taken an approach where each nation must come up with a plan to reduce their own impact using nationally determined contributions (NDCs), using terms such as the corporate led Science Based Target initiative (SBDI) or net zero emissions initiative. They have done so using accounting techniques such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Regulations such as the EU carbon tax on producers are consistent with this approach.
Using a counter account from the margins of the perspective of indigenous people from countries on the periphery of the global system we begin with a discussion of the use of agroecology accounting to illustrate how the Kyoto protocol and the clean development mechanism (CDM) tried to redress historical inequalities. However, a significant number of CDM projects perpetuated the status quo and in the current context there has been a significant increase in the price of carbon and as a result a growth in carbon offset projects where historical inequalities are forgotten and perpetuated. We discuss the challenges related to meeting the needs of smallholder farmers for carbon projects in agriculture using our experience doing so in the state of Gujarat, India.
1) Lanka, S. V., Khadaroo, I., & Böhm, S. (2017). Agroecology accounting: biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods from the margins. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.
2) Moore, J. W. (Ed.). (2016). Anthropocene or capitalocene? Nature, history, and the crisis of capitalism. Pm Press.
3) Wolford, W. (2021). The Plantationocene: A lusotropical contribution to the theory. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111(6), 1622-1639.
ABOUT THE GUEST HOSTS:
Siddhartha DABHI is the co-lead at C-GEM which is an initiative incubated in the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) working towards developing a farmer-centric, fair-value ecosystem market platform to incentivize and support the Natural Farming transition in India by leveraging ecosystem valuations markets.
Sanjay LANKA is a senior lecturer in Accounting at the University of Northampton focused on a redesign of the Accounting and Finance curriculum to incorporate a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion framework as the means to decolonizing the curriculum.