Environmental Accounting, Types, Objectives, Examples

The term “green accounting,” or “environmental accounting,” describes how the System of National Accounts is changed to account for the usage or depletion of natural resources.

An essential tool for managing the environmental and operational costs of natural resources is environmental accounting. Natural resource valuation is a crucial component of several environmental accounting techniques as well as social cost-benefit analyses.

Environmental Accounting

The goal of environmental accounting, which is a subset of accounting proper, is to include data on the economy and the environment.

Through the System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting, a satellite system to the National Accounts of Countries, it can be carried out at the company or national economy level (the National Accounts, among other things, generate the GDP, or gross domestic product, estimates).

The study of environmental accounting aims to quantify, assess, and disseminate the expenses associated with an organization’s or the country’s economic impact on the environment.

Expenses include waste management fees, environmental fines, penalties, and taxes; the cost of purchasing pollution control systems; and the expense of cleaning up or remediating contaminated sites.

Ecological accounting and ecologically differentiated conventional accounting make up an environmental accounting system. Environmentally differentiated accounting calculates the financial impact of the environment on a business. Ecological accounting quantifies a company’s impact on the environment using tangible metrics.

Why do environmental accounting?

Objectives of Environmental Accounting

Environmental accounting, often known as sustainable accounting, differs from typical accounting methods in several ways. These characteristics demonstrate its emphasis on incorporating social and environmental factors into economic research. The main components of green accounting are as follows:

  • Policy Orientation
  • Transparency and Reporting
  • International Standards
  • Performance Measurement
  • Engagement of Stakeholders
  • Separating Environmental Accounts
  • Linking Environment & Resources Accounts
  • Assessing Environmental Costs and Benefits
  • Maintaining Tangible Assets
  • Measuring Green Product and Income

1. Policy Orientation

It frequently serves as a basis for regulatory and policy decisions. Governments can use green accounting data to help develop and assess policies, like conservation efforts and emissions reduction objectives, that support environmental sustainability and protection.

2. Transparency and Reporting

Green accounting encourages the sharing of environmental and social data as well as transparency. Many businesses send stakeholders sustainability reports detailing their efforts in social responsibility and environmental performance.

3. International Standards

Green accounting follows worldwide rules and standards, such as those created by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), to improve uniformity and comparability.

4. Performance Measurement

It offers instruments and figures to evaluate social and environmental performance. This comprises, among other things, metrics for waste production, water use, energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and social effects.

5. Engagement of Stakeholders

Green accounting acknowledges the significance of involving a range of stakeholders, such as consumers, workers, investors, and communities. Accountability and openness are improved when these parties are included in sustainability reporting and decision-making processes.

6. Separating Environmental Accounts

By keeping environmental finances separate, businesses may better understand how much money is needed to protect the environment. This aids in estimating the expenses associated with resolving issues brought about by human activity, such as pollution.

We can manage environmental risks and opportunities by taking this action. For instance, a business may damage the environment. However, it can also lessen such harm by employing sustainable methods or renewable energy.

Eco-friendly product sales are another way that businesses can profit. Their reputation may be enhanced by this action. Environmental accounting benefits the environment and helps businesses make money.

7. Linking Environment & Resources Accounts

The purposes of environmental accounting are several. By connecting resources, money, and the environment, it seeks to understand their relationships.

We can figure out how to use resources more effectively and generate more revenue by connecting financial data with natural resource data. This assesses the amount of resources we use and the revenue we generate.

8. Assessing Environmental Costs and Benefits

The benefits and drawbacks of a company’s actions are assessed through environmental accounting. We track metrics such as pollution and natural resource consumption.

This aids businesses in making wiser decisions to avoid breaking the law and harming their reputation. Understanding the costs to the environment aids businesses in determining how to lessen their impact.

9. Maintaining Tangible Assets

Environmental accounting also monitors our maintenance practices for items like machinery. It’s critical to maintain them properly so they function and don’t damage the environment. It keeps track of how much energy and resources they consume and looks for methods to utilize them less.

This is critical since ignoring them could have negative effects on the ecosystem. Through accounting for the upkeep of tangible assets, businesses make sure their assets are operating efficiently. Don’t damage the environment either.

10. Measuring Green Product and Income

To do environmental accounting, indicators must be created and measured. The metrics demonstrate the environmental impact of both product production and use. This is crucial as conventional financial measures, such as GDP, solely take money into account. Additionally, they disregard environmental expenses.

to have a more realistic understanding of the genuine costs and benefits of economic operations. These metrics need to be updated to reflect the benefits and costs associated with the environment. We will be able to comprehend the economic worth of goods and services more fully as a result. and come to better judgments.

Types of Environmental Accounting

There are many different kinds of green accounting, each with its own goals and emphasis. Different needs and specific components of environmental and social accounting are addressed by several forms of green accounting. The following are a few typical forms of green accounting:

  • Environmental Management Accounting (EMA)
  • Environmental Financial Accounting
  • Social Accounting
  • Ecological Footprint Analysis
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

1. Environmental Management Accounting (EMA)

Focus: Internal Management

Goal: The main focus of EMA is to assist organizations in more efficiently evaluating and controlling their internal environmental expenses and resource utilization. It seeks to find areas where the company may cut costs and use resources more effectively.

2. Environmental Financial Accounting

Focus: Financial Reporting

Goal: To include environmental information in financial reports. It attempts to give creditors, investors, and other stakeholders a better knowledge of the opportunities, dangers, and effects that a company’s environmental practices have on its financial performance.

3. Social Accounting

Focus: Social Impacts

Goal: By including social and community implications, social accounting broadens the definition of green accounting. Its goal is to assess and document an organization’s social performance, including its contributions to social responsibility, community development, and job creation.

4. Ecological Footprint Analysis

Focus: Resource Use and Sustainability

Goal: Ecological footprint analysis compares the amount of natural resources consumed with the ability of the planet to replenish those resources to evaluate the environmental impact of human activity. It seeks to ascertain whether human endeavors are contained within planetary bounds.

5. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Focus: Product or Process Analysis

Goal: LCA is used to evaluate how a process, product, or service will affect the environment across its whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to disposal. Its goal is to find ways to lessen environmental effects at different phases of the life cycle.

Examples of Environmental Accounting

Let’s use some instances to help us better comprehend it:

Example 1

Assume Green accounting is used by renewable energy provider EcoTech Solutions to evaluate their wind turbine manufacturing processes. They value the turbines’ contribution to lowering emissions and providing ecosystem services, computing carbon emissions, and increasing resource efficiency.

They obtain a competitive edge and cut energy use by 15% in less than a year by carrying out a life cycle assessment and establishing carbon reduction targets.

Including a sustainability report on their work improves their brand and draws in eco-aware investors. This illustration shows how green accounting may lower operating expenses, encourage openness in sustainability initiatives, and direct environmentally conscious decision-making.

Example 2

Apple Inc. released a $1.5 billion green bond in 2021 to fund several eco-friendly initiatives. This illustration of green accounting shows how a major company included environmental factors in its financial plan.


  • Green Bond Purpose: Apple issued the green bond to use the proceeds to support efforts to lower its carbon footprint, conserve water, and promote renewable energy sources.
  • Transparency: The company demonstrated transparency in its use of the capital raised through the green bond by providing comprehensive information regarding the allocation of funds.
  • Impact Measurement: Apple demonstrated its commitment to green accounting practices by promising to monitor and report on the environmental impact of the projects financed by the green bond.

Advantages of Environmental Accounting

An illustration of the advantages of green accounting is provided here

  1. Better Decision-Making: Taking social and environmental variables into account, assists governments and organizations in making better decisions.
  2. Sustainability Planning: Lowers the likelihood of social and environmental problems by facilitating long-term planning for sustainability.
  3. Resource Efficiency: Promotes cost savings and resource efficiency by minimizing waste and enhancing resource management.
  4. Risk Mitigation: Reduces potential liability and reputational harm by identifying and managing social and environmental hazards.
  5. Transparency and Accountability: Promotes trust among stakeholders by providing information about environmental and social performance.

Importance of Environmental Accounting

Environmental issues are gaining greater attention from the public. Consequently, companies are beginning to understand how important environmental accounting is. Additionally, governments are enacting more stringent environmental laws. Thus, companies must monitor their environmental impact.

  • Reducing Environmental Costs
  • Meeting Environmental Regulations
  • Enhancing Corporate Reputation
  • Assessing Environmental Risks
  • Increasing the Effectiveness of Resources
  • Promoting Innovation

1. Reducing Environmental Costs

Businesses can become more environmentally friendly by using environmental accounting. By calculating the environmental costs of their production and consumption, businesses determine where they may make improvements to lessen their influence on the environment.

2. Meeting Environmental Regulations

Companies can comply with government environmental requirements with the aid of environmental accounting. These regulations are tightening. To avoid fines, businesses need to be sure they’re adhering to them.

3. Enhancing Corporate Reputation

Consumer concern for the environment is growing. Reputation is important for businesses when it comes to sustainability. Customers may become devoted as a result, and the business may stand out.

4. Assessing Environmental Risks

Companies can detect environmental concerns and take preventative action with the aid of environmental accounting. Companies that analyze their operations can identify potential problems and take corrective action. By doing this, the business can safeguard its reputation and prevent calamities.

5. Increasing the Effectiveness of Resources

Businesses that employ environmental accounting can maximize their resource use. By examining their environmental effect, businesses can reduce their energy and water usage. They can save money and benefit the environment by doing this.

6. Promoting Innovation

Innovation can also be fostered by environmental accounting. Businesses can develop new technologies that are more effective and sustainable.


Organizations must use environmental accounting to be sustainable and socially responsible. Taking environmental issues into account in their financial reports and choices, helps businesses comprehend how their actions influence the environment and how much it costs.

They become more accountable and honest. They can also develop ways to cut waste and conserve resources thanks to this. To be financially successful in the long run, firms need to use environmental accounting. and protect the natural world for coming generations.


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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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