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Environmental Management Accounting: Implementing EMA
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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TNRCC Cost Accounting Software
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EMA provides two types of data to assist companies in making decisions about capital investment, product/process costing, strategic planning, or other business opportunities. One type is cost information; the other type is physical flow information (e.g., raw materials use and waste generation rates).

Companies may approach the data collection in different ways. For example, some companies may simply conduct a more careful examination of existing cost data and combine it with existing materials flow knowledge to make more informed decisions. Other companies may do actual mass balances on their processes to better understand previously hidden losses.

Some examples of physical flow information include: quantity of chemical brought on-site, quantity of chemical produced on-site, quantity of chemical consumed in the manufacturing process, quantity of chemical in the product, quantity of chemical in the waste, water use, wastewater generation, and energy use.

In order to make the most informed decisions, cost information should include both the initial investment costs (and savings) and the annual operating costs (and savings). Developed by the Tellus Institute, following is a list of the broad categories included in both types of costs (and savings).

Initial Investment Costs


Site Preparation

Purchased Equipment

Working Capital
Utility Systems & Connections



(Salvage Value)

Annual Operating Costs & Savings

Operating Inputs

Operating Input Materials

Operating Input Energy

Operating Input Labour

Operating Floor Space

Operating Taxes & Depreciation

Operating Cost of Capital

Waste Management*

Waste Management Materials

Waste Management Energy

Waste Management Labour

Waste Management Floor Space

Waste Management Fees

Waste Management Taxes & Depreciation

Waste Management Cost of Capital

* Waste Management includes waste handling, recycling, treatment, disposal, and regulatory compliance

Less Tangibles


Future Regulation

Potential Liability


Company Image


Product Sales

By-product Sales

Pollution Credits

Some of these costs may be less tangible, or even intangible, but should at least be noted if they apply. Many tools are available to assist in the data gathering task. (See the list of links associated with this section.)

Once colleted, the data must be conveyed to the decision makers in a concise and straightforward fashion. This can be achieved in whatever fashion is accepted by the company for presenting potential projects. Be sure to stress the environmental costs that were found using EMA methods that inform the decision making in ways that conventional project analysis would have overlooked.


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