Berichte aus Energie- und Umweltforschung 32/2002
Policy Pathways for PromotingEnvironmental Management Accounting

Implementation of EMA as a standard tool regarding the calculation of environmental and material (flow) costs - a project report on a procedure that may form a new basis for the calculation of financial profitability of business optinons of sustainability.

Bibliographic Data

Series 32/2002
D. Savage, P.Lignon, J. Lomsek
Publisher: Im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Wissenschaft und Verkehr
English, 99 pages

Content Description

The introduction of measures of environmental protection going beyond a legally stipulated minimum is still often regarded as undesired cost factor, which is only justifiable in times of economic prosperity. The concept of sustainable economy, however, goes one step further. Long-term strategic economic action, which also accepts social and ecological responsibility may release significant potentials of efficiency and innovation.

As shown by the successful results of the cleaner production approach initiated in Austria at the beginning of the nineties in regional and communal case study programs, strategically planned concepts of avoiding waste and emissions lead to a distinct increase in resource efficiency. The PREPARE method was developed as an instrument for high-quality preventive concepts of environmental management. Only in very rare cases was it possible to prove that these measures also had an impact on accounting figures, i.e. cost saving.

A solid proof of achievable cost saving in planning and development of strategies, which would meet the requirements of company controlling, calls for new instruments in the field of business economics and accounting. For this reason a cooperation was initiated between the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, Environment Canada and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs / Division for Sustainable Development (UNDSD) and the project was funded as Austrian and Canadian contribution in the framework of the "Expert-Working-Group on Environmental Managerial Accounting".

The project report is based on a review of the international UNCSD expert working group and proposes a number of policy pathways towards the implementation of EMA as a standard tool regarding the calculation of environmental and material (flow) costs. The study is supplemented by a number of case studies in Austria and other countries. The procedure summarized here may be regarded as guideline for actions for broad application and trial and may form a new basis of the calculation of financial profitability of business options of sustainability.