Externalities and decision-making

Authored by: Nicolas Antheaume , Jan Bebbington

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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The rules of accounting practice exclude recognition of externalities, namely, those impacts that arise from an organisation’s actions but which are not borne by them. From an environmental perspective, the failure to account for externalities may lead to poor decision-making and an inaccurate representation of the impact of an organisation. An interest in how to account for externalities predates the founding of environmental accounting. As a result, this chapter describes the attempt to creating methods for externalities accounting as well as the numerous practice-based and academic experiments that have emerged in the last 50 years. More general points are synthesised from this review, focusing on how externalities accounting might create a “mediating” platform between government authorities, other stakeholders and businesses decision-makers as well as addressing deeper questions about monetisation and commensuration in environmental domains.

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