What Is Environmental Accounting?

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Environmental Management Accounting (EMA) is a cover title used to describe different aspects of this burgeoning field of accounting. The focus of EMA is as a management accounting tool used to make internal business decisions, especially for proactive environmental management activities.

EMA was developed to recognize some limitations of conventional management accounting approaches to environmental costs, consequences, and impacts. For example, overhead accounts were the destination of many environmental costs in the past. Cost allocations were inaccurate and could not be traced back to processes, products, or process lines. Wasted raw materials were also inaccurately accounted for during production.

Each aspect of EMA has a general accounting type that serves as its foundation, according to the EMA international website. The following examples indicate the general accounting type followed by the environmental accounting parallel:

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