Environmental and sustainability management accounting is based on the premises firstly, that as environmental and sustainability issues become more important, then good environmental and sustainability management by business and other organisations will become increasingly important; and secondly, that accounting and financial management techniques can help to support this, to the mutual benefit of both, the organisation’s environmental and sustainability management function and its accounting and finance function.
Environmental and sustainability management accounting is understood here as environmental and sustainability accounting which is specifically addressed to supporting the information needs of the organisation’s own management. This can be interpreted broadly, as is evident from the themes of recent and planned future EMAN conferences.
Several studies on organisations‘ environmental costs have identified the limitations of conventional costing systems, and these help to show the potential for a progressive management accounting function to support environmental and sustainability management by improving the quality of information generated. Conversely, as corporate environmental and sustainability management develops beyond simple compliance to become a source of strategic competitive advantage, environmental and sustainability management will become increasingly important to the achievement of the organisation’s overall objectives, including financial. This is supported by recent studies which demonstrate a connection between environmental and sustainability performance and shareholder value.
EMAN developed in the first place from the ‚Ecomac‘ (Eco-Management as a Tool of Environmental Management) research project which was carried out for the European Union’s Environment and Climate Programme. This built on previous work on existing and potential links between the environmental management and management accounting functions in businesses in order to identify ways to improve these.
The results of various research projects suggest that in many companies these links are under-developed and that there is considerable scope to improve them, to the mutual benefit of both functions, and encouraged the researchers involved in the project to set up EMAN and EMAN in order to encourage this development. Since its foundation in 1997 EMAN has developed with its own website and annual books, and an annual conference in each of those years. With funding from the European Union and various other organizations financial support towards the travel and accommodation costs of participants could be organized for the annual conferences from 2000 to 2004. For various years a double refereed selection of papers from the annual conference has subsequently been published in bound-volume form, thus providing presenters with a further outlet through which to disseminate their work. Agreement has been reached with Springer-Kluwer as a major academic publisher to produce future annual books based on the annual conference presentations.
EMAN has been growing with the increasing attention environmental and sustainability accounting is gaining. As part of the global EMAN activities and structures, four regional EMAN sections, each conducting its own annual meetings or conference, have been established:
Further information on EMAN is available from the homepages of the regional EMAN sections or from the EMAN Chairperson, Prof. Dr. Karen Maas (firstname.lastname@example.org) or other members of the Steering Committees of EMAN.