Environmental Management Accounting: A Survey of Implementation in New Zealand

By:
Jason T. Greig,
Beverley R. Lord,
Yvonne P. Shanahan
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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
Stream: Economic Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Environmental Management Accounting


Jason T. Greig

University of Canterbury
New Zealand

Jason Greig has just completed an accounting honours degree at the University of Canterbury. His particular research interest is environmental accounting. In February he starts work as a tax consultant with Deloitte in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Beverley R. Lord

Senior lecturer, Department of Accountancy, Finance & Information Systems
College of Business and Economics, University of Canterbury

New Zealand

Dr Beverley Lord has taught accountancy (particularly management accounting) at undergraduate and post-graduate level at the University of Canterbury since 1989. She also teaches qualitative research methods at post-graduate level and publishes research in a number of accounting-related areas. She is involved at committee level with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and writes materials for and marks examinations in their professional accounting school.

Yvonne P. Shanahan

Head of Department, Department of Accountancy, Finance & Information Systems
College of Business and Economics, University of Canterbury

New Zealand

Dr Yvonne Shanahan, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury, is involved in undergraduate and post graduate teaching in management accounting and supervision of Masters and Doctoral theses. She has published over 40 articles and papers in a range of interest areas. Outside the University she is heavily involved with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, facilitating the professional accounting schools, marking the examinations and writing material for the programme.

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