Environmental Accounting Methodologies (EAM) aim at a quantitative assessment of the environmental issues related to existing production, trade and consumption patterns. EAM are currently explored by official agencies (statistical or environmental national offices) for their integration into quantitative statistical and analytical frameworks.
A methodological point of increasing importance is the treatment of traded goods and services. The comparison of strengths and weaknesses of each EAM with respect to this issue, the understanding of the context in which they are suitable or the required future developments are now key to increase the quality of the information provided to policy makers.
This analytical review is driven by:
- Globalisation and the increasing separation of production and consumption sites resulting in a growing share of world trade by some developing countries (i.e. China, India or Brazil).
- The need for relevant environmental indicators at several scales (national - macro level, production chain - meso level and product – micro level) while existing EAM provide environmental assessments at different scales: at the process, product, sector, production chain, region or country level.
- The focus of existing methodologies and datasets on the EU context.
IMEA objectives are:
- An assessment of each EAM according to IMEA's analytical framework
- Suggestions on data and methodological improvements of existing EAM
- Guidelines & recommendations for standardizing the environmental assessments of traded goods and services
- Strategic recommendations on the development of a context-relevant integrated approach to include imports in current environmental accounting