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Environmental Management Accounting: Background and Overview
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Implementing EMA
Assistance Activities
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

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Environmental Management Accounting (EMA) is the identification, collection, estimation, analysis, internal reporting, and use of materials and energy flow information, environmental cost information, and other cost information for both conventional and environmental decision-making within an organization.

For companies that have the goals of saving money, especially environmental costs, and reducing environmental impacts, EMA provides essential information for meeting those goals.

Key points to note are:

  • EMA focuses on costs internal to the company; EMA does not include external costs to individuals, society, or the environment for which a company is not legally held responsible.
  • EMA places particular emphasis on accounting for environmental costs.
  • EMA also encompasses explicit information on physical flows and fates of materials and energy.
  • EMA information can be used for most types of management activity or decision-making within an organization, but is particularly useful for proactive environmental management activities.

EMA is not merely one environmental management tool among many - rather, EMA is a broad set of principles and approaches that provides the materials/energy flow and cost data critical to the success of many environmental management activities. Terms or tools such as full cost accounting, total cost assessment, cost accounting, materials accounting, life cycle assessment, life cycle costing, and activity based costing are associated with EMA.

Information adapted from the Environmental Accounting International Website (


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Environmental Management Accounting Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 10/8/2013