The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of management control systems. Particularly, this research aims at examining how management control systems support (1) the implementation of sustainability strategies within the organization and (2) the non-financial reporting process.
This qualitative research focuses on the case study of Edison S.p.A. Data include sustainability reports, sustainability plans, and non-financial reports that the or-ganization published during the last three years. Moreover, the authors interview the organization’s sustainability managers, management accountants, and con-trollers to grasp certain peculiarities related to the use of management control sys-tems, and to deepen this control systems’ role in the sustainability disclosure pro-cess.
Relying on Merchant and Riccaboni’s (2001) theoretical framework, this study finds that management control systems play a key role, summarized as follows: support in the decision-making process, definition of objectives and related sus-tainability targets, monitoring activities, guidance in identifying corrective actions, and measures for an effective improvement of non-financial performance.
From a practical perspective, the findings of this study provide interesting insights related to the definition and implementation of organizational solutions for eco-nomic and financial equilibrium; moreover, the findings of this study also provide interesting insights in terms of sustainability performance.
Keywords: Sustainability disclosure, Management control systems, Energy indus-try, Non-financial reporting, Sustainability strategy