LIFTS Accounting Model


Planetary Boundaries and Social Foundations

The planetary boundaries indicate an environmental budget ceiling that must not be exceeded. The social foundations indicate a social budget floor to be achieved. In this way, the company ensures that its activities do not exceed the limitations of the earth system nor degrade individuals’ access to their basic needs. 

Extended corporate responsibility

The company is responsible for its choices of suppliers and products sold. The company’s impacts are split into three categories: “operations”, which comprise the company’s activities; the “supply chain”, which includes the activities of its suppliers; and “products & services”, which include the externalities of the products or services sold by the company. Finally, we use the lens of the company’s business model to determine areas with a strong potential impact on the boundaries and foundations, upstream of the accounting work. In this way, accounting gives us an all-encompassing view of the company’s model, allowing it to consider the transformations necessary for its sustainability while respecting the boundaries and foundations.

Verifiable physical flow accounting

The model connects financial accounting with environmental and socio-economic issues. Together with the planetary boundaries and social foundations, it tracks multi-capital performance via an accounting system that records activities as physical flows, in parallel with audited financial accounting. The budget is compared to the company’s actual activities for a given period. The result calculated, once contextualized, provides information on the company’s integrated performance.

Principal of non-compensation

The performances calculated on each of the boundaries and foundations do not offset one another. Each result is calculated and analyzed separately.

Case Studies


Nepsen is a group committed to ecological transition and energy sobriety. For 40 years, Nepsen has been supporting and advising all types of public and private players in France and abroad in their energy and environmental efficiency initiatives. It currently has around fifteen local offices with a total staff of over one hundred people throughout France. The group also has expertise in environmental approaches (Carbon Footprint, Life Cycle Assessment, Adaptation to climate change). 



Yever is a consulting firm based in Yangon, Myanmar, whose mission is to support and accelerate the transformation of Burmese organisations towards more sustainable and responsible business models. Their leaders are convinced about the importance of pro bono missions time devotion. This allows them to train their team and develop their skills to better serve their clients in addition to bringing value to Myanmar society. They want to be exemplary in creating and sharing value with all their stakeholders, including their customers, employees and Myanmar society. 



BATHÔ is a socially responsible company that transforms pleasure boats out of use into fixed accommodation which can be used as meeting rooms, unusual tourist accommodation, playgrounds or even holiday cottages for private individuals. After more than a year of existence, it has already rehabilitated about fifteen boats. This concept, unique in France, responds to the need to treat numerous lives ending boats made of non-recyclable main materials. Their refurbishment enables the vocational training of young workers and the professional integration of people far from employment. Social and environmental commitment is thus at the heart of BATHÔ’s mission. 




We thought it was time to take a step back and look at how researchers, practitioners and standard-setting institutions approached the issue of the connection between the environmental, social and intangible and financial accounting since the 1970s. This questioning is of course not new, as evidenced by the extensive work done by Price Waterhouse USA in the 1990s (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994) and the many chapters devoted to the subject in books published by researchers Rob Gray (2001) and Stefan Schaltegger (1996, 2000), as well as by the Ordre des Experts Comptables (Accounting experts order) (1996). In July 2020, we are taking a new step forward, based on a 5-month study carried out by the Audencia research Chair team. Our research work consisted in forming a structured panorama of many initiatives. It does not necessarily have to be exhaustive, as it is a difficult task. However, we have structured a vision of the connections in order to enlighten all those who would like to address this “accounting” and “non-financial” question in practice, in the writing of standards, or in research. 

The LIFTS Accounting Model is solely the intellectual property of Delphine GIBASSIER, and a trademark that belong to Delphine GIBASSIER.

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