Keywords: green accounting, alternative indicators, sustainability accounting, environmental indicators, sustainability reporting, green economics, environmental degradation, behavioural change
Green accounting: a conceptual framework
Awareness of environmental limits has led to a proliferation of accounting methodologies designed to measure the impact of human activity on the earth's ecological systems and resources. Such methodologies can be collectively described as green accounting, and categorised in three different ways; first, by whose actions are being accounted for; second, by the time period being considered; third, by how environment impacts are measured. Current practice tends to focus on parallel reporting with financial accounting still having greater importance. Green accounting remains largely voluntary and unaudited. The key challenges for green accounting can be summarised as first to determining the scale of change in human activity required to prevent environmental degradation and incorporating some reference to these limits within its metrics, and second to be effective in prompting the necessary behavioural change within the necessary timescale.