The role of public-sector organizations (PSOs) in promoting the agenda of sustainability accounting and accountability is not often adequately considered. In the public sector realm, local governments are close to their communities and thus have a particularly important role to play in the pursuit of sustainability goals. Hence, further research is needed to understand if Local Government Organizations (LGOs) are using reporting tools to promote sustainable development. The empirical data showed that the Sustainability Report (SR) is not being as widely used as in past years. Over time, the majority of Italian municipalities have not initiated or continued sustainability reporting due to some barriers including cost reduction, voluntariness, and low SR effectiveness. The findings suggest the popularity of SRs in Italy is falling and the SR tool appears to be “mere trend reporting based on descriptive indicators leading to decreasing interest from internal and external audiences”. The carrot has been unsuccessful. Perhaps the implementation of mandatory requirements could alternatively be used as a stick.
Overcoming the barriers to the diffusion of sustainability reporting in italian lgos: better stick or carrot?