Neo-institutional theory can increase understanding of an organization's general response to social and environmental issues and social activism. More particularly, it can frame an organization's accounting responses. The analytical schema proposed by Lounsbury (1997) is deployed to explore social and environmental accounting issues that occurred in two local government authorities—one in Canada, one in England. Our analysis highlights possibilities for better and more complete theories of organizational transformation, and social and environmental accounting. We stress the importance of ethical values and ecological thinking if change (including accounting change) is to help institutions behave in a way that is conducive to achieving a sustainable future.