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

EMA researchers and proponents recognize the limitations of conventional management accounting approaches for management activities and decisions involving significant environmental costs and/or significant environmental consequences/impacts. For example, the following "conventional" management accounting practices might contribute to the inadequate consideration of environmental costs in internal decision-making:

  • The unintentional "hiding" of many environmental costs in overhead accounts;
  • Inaccurate allocation of environmental costs from overhead accounts back to processes, products, and process lines;
  • Inaccurate characterization of environmental costs as "fixed" when they may actually be variable (or vice-versa);
  • Inaccurate accounting for volumes (and thus costs) of wasted raw materials, and;
  • The actual lack of inclusion of relevant and significant environmental costs in the accounting records at all.

EMA brings many potential benefits to industry including:

  • The ability to more accurately track and manage the use and flows of energy and materials, including pollution/waste volumes, types, and fate;
  • The ability to more accurately identify, estimate, allocate, and manage/reduce costs, particularly environmental types of costs;
  • More accurate and comprehensive information to support the establishment of and participation in voluntary, cost-effective programs to improve environmental performance;
  • More accurate and comprehensive information for the measurement and reporting of environmental performance, thus improving company image with stakeholders, such as customers, local communities, employees, government, and finance providers.

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