United Nations draws accountants into environmental management

The United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) has published a manual to inform and give guidance on environmental accounting issues.

The Guidance Manual Accounting and Financial Reporting for Environmental Costs and Liabilities gives assistance with issues such as accounting for environmental costs and liabilities, and meaningful disclosure of a businesses environmental performance. Management accounting procedures can also be developed, and could be used to cost out pollution controls, to compare alternative materials that can be used in manufacturing, and to investigate recycling alternatives.

The manual is primarily based on work that has been undertaken by ISAR, the European Accounting Advisory Forum, and accounting organisations and standard-setting bodies in Canada, the UK, and the US. The authors also conducted surveys of other countries, receiving responses from Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Korea, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Russia and Switzerland.

ISAR began its work on environmental accounting over seven years ago, with the intention of encouraging accountants to take on their role in environmental management.

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