Environmental Management Accounting: A Survey of Implementation in New Zealand
Environmental management accounting comprises the identification, collection, analysis and reporting of physical and monetary data on environment-related inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes and narrative information on past, present and future impacts on the environment (International Federation of Accountants, 2005). Although there has been considerable theoretical development of the concept of environmental management accounting (EMA), there has been little research on actual implementations or reasons why firms have chosen not to implement it.
This paper presents the results of a survey of members of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (31 responses), who were expected to be using EMA, and a sample of New Zealand manufacturing firms in general (35 responses). The survey results reveal that, as expected, 90% of respondents from the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development members are using some EMA techniques, contrasting with only 17% of respondents from the manufacturing sector.
The techniques of EMA most extensively used are employee relations, triple bottom line, energy usage and recycling reports. The first two are used more for external reporting than for internal decision-making purposes. For those organisations that are not using EMA, reasons include that it is too costly, that the organisation's production process is believed to have little environmental impact, and that EMA is irrelevant to managerial needs.
Keywords: Environmental Management Accounting, Sustainability, Triple Bottom Line, Environmental Costs
Jason T. Greig
University of Canterbury
Beverley R. Lord
Senior lecturer, Department of Accountancy, Finance & Information Systems
Yvonne P. Shanahan
Head of Department, Department of Accountancy, Finance & Information Systems