Who benefits from Green Accounting?

Green Accounting and sustainability accounting are two accountability movements that are becoming more popular in their use by businesses. It is stated that in doing so, a business can incorporate many other factors that may affect the profitability of their company. Reputation, legitimacy, employee related problems and other things all have internal and external costs that a company has to deal with. However, I think that the ultimate benefits of green accounting does not fall on the businesses lap. Instead, as Vincent(2000) asserts, “We seek through green accounting to answer the question – Will a country be as well-off in the future as in the present” (p.14). It seems that green accounting can be of great importance to countries and their respective governments. By knowing such information, a country can act accordingly in an effort to address world related problems.

Is it possible for a country to use green accounting to set standards for businesses in an effort to address common problems presented in reports? Can practices be established such that they will help create a future where its citizens are well off financially, socially, and environmentally?

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Finding New Ways to Move Our Garbage

Currently, New York City’s disposes of the waste is by transporting it to out-of-state landfills. However, in recent years, transporting the waste has made a significant impact on the city. For example, relying on truck transport affects the air quality in the communities that surround the transfer stations. Also, the transportation of the solid waste is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. With the health risks that the transporting of solid waste through trucks have on the people in the city, the Comprehensive Solid Waste Plan has planned a number of waste infrastructure construction project that will help bring an end to long-haul trucking and will also be less costly. Most of the SWMP is putting marine transfer stations along Manhattan piers and Brooklyn rather than using truck transportation.

Do you think the city will approve such a change although they are already accustomed to how the waste is currently being transported?


To Internalize Waste Disposal or Not?

The Municipal Solid Waste in New York City paper stated various options that New York City has to cope with the disposal of waste that will continue to increase in the upcoming years. Currently, the majority of waste is being managed by out of city facilities that bring solid waste out to regions outside of New York City to be sorted and taken care of. However, the unsteady and often increasing prices of gas affects transportation costs for this form of waste disposal. One option, the Comprehensive Solid Waste Plan, was brought up in order to centralize solid waste disposal into New York City itself through the construction and development of transfer stations. This option would allow New York City to become more self sufficient in its solid waste disposal and not be affected by the effects of dynamic gas prices. However this solution also has drawbacks such as the current budget shortfalls that would create a financial burden for the city as well as community opposition towards the building of transfer facilities.

Should New York City move towards a self sustainable means of solid waste disposal but have to potentially face financial drawbacks, or continue to rely on outside facilities and transportation modes that would on the other hand lessen the burden of New York City having to mange its own waste disposal?


Role of Accountants on Sustainability

The article, What is the Accounting Profession’s Role in Accountability of Economic, Social, and Environmental Issues? by Anna L. Lusher, states that “The Big Four Accounting Firms have developed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) frameworks that encompass community, environment, marketplace, and workplace issues for companies that desired to provide more comprehensive reports to their stakeholders” (14). Moreover, some organizations are now voluntarily producing CSR reports as it enhances their reputation, create consistent frameworks across global networks, reduce operating costs and etc. However, neither International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) nor US Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (GAAP) provides a framework for preparing corporate sustainability reports. Should a common set of principles, standards and procedures be set for green accounting, or is it the responsibilities of the accounts to influence companies into voluntarily integrate sustainability into every facet of the organizations?


One Man’s Trash…

After reading about the current disposal options for solid waste in New York, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. I’ve noticed how NY slowly had realized that waste could be harmful if not disposed of properly and that if disposed of in the most efficient way can even be useful. They have also recently tried to find ways to make it useful, like their waste to energy incineration facilities. This type of method is in my opinion the first step to a successful future for the waste in NYC. Although the technology only allows a small efficiency rate, investments in the technology may prove useful. The biggest issue is that, despite being less than more common energy producers, emissions from this process can be harmful. The more we use this method, the more harmful.. even if less harmful than other ways.
The best solution, though obviously extremely speculative, would be a way to completely transmit our waste into something useful without a negative effect on environments and neighborhoods, and too big of a strain on the government budget. Is there someway, somehow, a way to make all of this trash into a true resource?