Materials and energy accounting

Authored by: Roger Burritt , Katherine Christ , Stefan Schaltegger

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Accounting

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367152338
eBook ISBN: 9780367152369
Adobe ISBN:


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Materials and energy accounting and reporting is a subset of environmental management accounting and reporting, which is a subset of sustainability accounting and reporting. Use and availability of materials and energy are of such high sustainability and economic relevance that specialised accounting has been developed to assist management in dealing with emissions and waste as well as the limited supply of natural resources. International standards, such as ISO 14051 Material Flow Coast Accounting and ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems, aim to improve awareness of the importance and the efficient use of materials and energy in business. Physical and monetary information about materials and energy use can then be provided to stakeholders for the purpose of accountability. Challenges include determining the role of accountants in this space and choosing between different standards available. A second challenge is that materials and energy accounting can be designed with specific management tasks in mind, but external reporting of the information remains subject to management discretion over different cost allocation systems. Finally, is the issue of how to transform materials and energy management at the business level towards achieving broader goals such as keeping within planetary boundaries and accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals.

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