As we all know, businesses are formed to deliver services or produce products in order to earn a profit. In the 21st century accounting goes beyond the bottom line of black or red – – it includes “green”, too. With the growing green consumer awareness, companies are more than ever expected to align its business strategies with environmental initiatives. Environmentally conscious companies have already discovered that they can generate business strategies to help them reduce their carbon footprint, minimize their environmental impact, make the best use of natural resources, become more energy efficient, reduce costs, and exhibit social responsibility – all at the same time.
Companies who are ready to become an integral part of President Obama’s Green Economy through governmental initiatives will need to expand their accounting staff by hiring accountants who specialize in “green” or environmental accounting.
Green Accounting Definition
The term, green accounting, has been around since the 1980s, and is known as a management tool used for a variety of purposes, such as improving environmental performance, controlling costs, investing in “cleaner” technologies, developing “greener” processes and products, and forming decisions related to their business activities.
Green Management Accounting
According to the EPA, green or environmental management accounting is “the identification, prioritization, quantification or qualification, and incorporation of environmental costs into business decisions.” Green Management Accounting uses “data about environmental costs and performance for business decisions. It collects cost, production, inventory, and waste cost and performance for business decisions. It collects cost, production, inventory, and waste cost and performance data in the accounting system to plan, evaluate, and control.”
Environmental management accounting thus represents a combined approach which provides for the transition of data from financial accounting and cost accounting to increase material efficiency, reduce environmental impact and risk, and reduce costs of environmental protection.
Green or Environmental Accountants
Green accountants are held responsible to identify and track green costs often times working with site, research and development, and production managers when planning their budgets. In the past, such costs were buried in overhead preventing a clear picture of the cost savings and benefits to the product, process, system or facility responsible for the green initiatives.
Green accountants help management recognize that the tax benefits, rebates and lower costs of being environmentally friendly add up to a real bottom-line reward for doing the right thing.
“Public environmental, social and sustainability reporting is the main route through which corporate accountability and integrity can be demonstrated,” claims the London-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in its report, “Environmental, Social and Sustainability Reporting on the World Wide Web.”