Yue Li

UTM professor’s research into green corporate accounting practices receives prestigious award

When companies are proactive in disclosing environmental practices, does it impact the firm’s bottom line or improve its performance as a “green” company?  

Professor and Director of the Master of Management & Professional Accounting program Yue Li has studied the relationship between firms that voluntarily disclose their environmental strategies and their performance – both environmental and financial. He focuses on corporate environmental performance, corporate social responsibility and sustainability management.

For his research, Li has been listed as one of the esteemed recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award from the American Accounting Association (AAA), the largest accounting association in the world. 

Li, who teaches accounting at the Institute for Management & Innovation at the University of Toronto Mississauga and is Director of the Master of Management & Professional Accounting program, has made significant contributions to the field of accounting through his publications in top-tier academic journals over the decades. 

Two publications that Li co-wrote contributed to his AAA win. His research entitled "Revisiting the relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: An empirical analysis," was published in the May-July 2008 issue of Accounting, Organizations and Society. In the 15 years since its publication, the research has been cited more than 1,700 times in other academic papers. "Does it really pay to be green? Determinants and consequences of proactive environmental strategies," was published in the March-April 2011 issue of Journal of Accounting and Public Policy. Both have been recognized as pioneering and influential in the field. 

“I'm very humbled and honoured to receive this award alongside my co-authors. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and passion I have for environmental accounting research,” said Li. 

The AAA award, presented in the form of unique glass art pieces and a $2,500 prize, will be bestowed upon Li and his co-authors, Gordon D. Richardson of Rotman School of Management along with Peter M. Clarkson and Florin P. Vasvari, at an August luncheon at the 2023 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in Denver, Colo. 

This is the first Canadian research team to have won this honour since the inception of the award in 2010.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the university, to my colleagues, and to my talented and dedicated co-authors, especially Prof. Richardson, who have worked with me and supported me over the years.” 

Li, who is a chartered professional accountant and a certified management accountant, earned his PhD in Accounting from Queen’s University and was a Fellow at the Michael Lee-Chin Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management.

The Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award is selected annually to recognize work published more than five years but not more than 15 years prior to the year of the award. It recognizes accounting research based on uniqueness and magnitude of contribution to accounting education, practice and/or future accounting research, originality and innovative content, clarity and organization of exposition and soundness and appropriateness of methodology.

The AAA recognition reaffirms Li’s position as a thought leader in the accounting field and reflects U of T’s commitment to advancing knowledge through impactful research, along with UTM’s strategic framework dedication to empowering research discovery and impact.