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Valuing external costs - from theory to practice: implications for full cost environmental accounting

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  • Nicolas Antheaume

Abstract

This article presents an experiment in full cost accounting applied to the case of an industrial process. It aims at exploring the difficulties of putting full cost accounting into practice. Its specific contribution to the growing body of experiments in full cost accounting is that it attempts to compare exactly what impacts can be translated into financial information with the impacts that are being left out. Amongst other things, we provide a quantitative figure of what is monetized in the experiment, expressed as a percentage of what should be monetized if all negative external effects were to be taken into account. The experiment uses three different external cost evaluation methods. The most comprehensive method monetizes less than 10% of the flows of the industrial process studied. According to the method used and the assumptions made, external costs vary by a factor of more than 1 to 12,000 per unit of product. The paper then discusses what can be learnt by comparing the range of results obtained with each method and suggests directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Antheaume, 2004. "Valuing external costs - from theory to practice: implications for full cost environmental accounting," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 443-464.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:13:y:2004:i:3:p:443-464
    DOI: 10.1080/0963818042000216802
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Costanza, Robert & d'Arge, Ralph & de Groot, Rudolf & Farber, Stephen & Grasso, Monica & Hannon, Bruce & Limburg, Karin & Naeem, Shahid & O'Neill, Robert V. & Paruelo, Jose, 1998. "The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 3-15, April.
    2. Joskow, Paul L., 1992. "Weighing environmental externalities: Let's do it right!," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 53-67, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Antheaume, 2012. "Essai Sur La Specificite Du Controle De Gestion Environnemental," Post-Print hal-00691066, HAL.
    2. McHenry, Mark, 2009. "Policy options when giving negative externalities market value: Clean energy policymaking and restructuring the Western Australian energy sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1423-1431, April.
    3. Dianne McGrath, 2011. "Accounting for the Environment: Towards a Theoretical Perspective for Environmental Accounting and Reporting," Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 169-170, September.
    4. María Luisa Pajuelo Moreno, 2013. "Assessment of the Impact of Business Activity in Sustainability Terms. Empirical Confirmation of Its Determination in Spanish Companies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 1-32, May.
    5. Bebbington, Jan & Larrinaga, Carlos, 2014. "Accounting and sustainable development: An exploration," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 395-413.
    6. Marie-Andrée Caron & Hugues Boisvert & Alexander Mersereau, 2007. "La Comptabilité De Management Environnementale Ou L'Écocontrôle : Utilité Des Outils De Contrôle De Gestion," Post-Print halshs-00543104, HAL.

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