Information paper: What are environmental accounts?, 2008

Economics Australia

This paper argues for an accounting approach that brings greater discipline to the organisation of environmental data and their integration with economic and social data.There is a wide variety of environmental information produced in Australia for a diverse range of purposes. The scope and definition of environmental accounting in Australia is also quite broad and varied. At its broadest the concept refers to the implementation of consistent, standardised and reliable methods of accounting for Australia’s natural resources and ecosystem processes; and the provision of a framework to better integrate the information about the economy, environment and society to underpin sound decision-making. Any presentation of environmental information, whether through an accounting approach or thematic reporting, is highly dependant on sound information sources. An organising framework for an environmental information system can provide the structure to enable meaningful presentation and comparison of data, over time and across different geographic dimensions. Increasing understanding of the notion of environmental accounting has never been more relevant than now, with Australian governments, business and communities facing major issues such as climate change and increasingly scarce environmental resources.

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