Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Honing environmental and economic accounting principles

Researchers in Europe are working to fill in the remaining gaps in the international standard for environmental economic accounting. An EU initiative has harmonised accounts for the environment to better inform decision making and policymaking.
Honing environmental and economic accounting principles
Under the umbrella of the United Nations (UN), the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) has been agreed internationally. This scheme provides the guidelines for producing statistics on the environment and its relationship with the economy.

However, the practicalities involved in compiling economic records of a country's environmental assets and the costs of their depletion and degradation have created some challenges. The EU-funded CREEA (Compiling and refining environmental and economic accounts (CREEA)) project was established to overcome these difficulties. Overall, CREEA aimed to further develop the principles of environmental economic accounting.

CREEA defined its scope for compiling environmental accounts. It then improved, tested and implemented the accounting approaches proposed for inclusion in SEEA 2012 based on the four environmental fields selected by the project as priority areas: water, waste, forestry and climate change. Work included elaborating, refining and testing accounting standards for water as per SEEA 2012, harmonising terminology and classification of waste and waste products, modifying the recommended SEEA 2012 methodology for forests, and developing reliable energy and air emission accounts.

Based on the work of previous projects in this area, CREEA developed a harmonised database for environmental economic accounting. All information gathered on the four environmental fields was fed into the database. These integrated data sets cover 43 countries, 200 product groups and 160 economic sectors for each country.

Three case studies were carried out to demonstrate the importance of integrated environmental economic accounting in policymaking in the four priority areas.

Lastly, a booklet was produced that presents 43 country factsheets that capture the carbon, water, land and material footprint of the countries covered by the database.

CREEA provided a coherent framework for organising economic and environmental data. These harmonised data sets will prove invaluable to environmental policymaking at European and global levels.

Related information


Environmental economic accounting, System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, environmental data, environmental policymaking
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