Environmental accounts

Status update

In 2018, Commonwealth and state environment ministers have endorsed a strategy to deliver a common national approach to environmental-economic accounting in Australia.

The strategy is the result of significant work in building consensus for a consistent approach and alignment of effort amongst jurisdictions throughout 2017. Further information is available at the Department’s website: www.environment.gov.au/science/environmental-economic-accounting

What are environmental accounts?

Environmental accounts provide a structured and standardised way to organise environmental information.

Environmental accounts can be used to determine changes in the environment, ecosystems and their functioning.

The Environmental accounts landscape (4.3Mb) provides an overview of environmental accounting approaches and examples of their implementation. It is a starting point for understanding environmental accounting and summarises work undertaken in Australia and internationally.

Environmental accounting at the Bureau of Meteorology

Commencing in 2011 under the National Plan for Environmental Information initiative, the Bureau developed an initial capability to produce environmental accounts to help integrate environmental information into decision-making. This includes guides, standards, tools and examples to enable the production of credible, legitimate, relevant and enduring environmental accounts.

The Bureau ceased developing this capability in June 2014. However, the foundation publications and tools remain accessible from this site.

Guide to environmental accounting in Australia

The Guide to environmental accounting in Australia (1.6Mb) describes the environmental accounting process developed through the Bureau's environmental accounting capability. It contributes to the wider implementation of environmental accounting in Australia. The Guide describes accounts and their purpose, the risks and issues involved, and pathways for implementing them. It shows how to design environmental accounts and outlines considerations for senior managers contemplating an environmental accounts program.

Read the Guide information sheet (169Kb) to find out more.

Environmental account framing workbook

The Environmental account framing workbook (2.5Mb) guides users through the process of framing an environmental account including account scoping and account specification. The methodology considers factors such as the account's purpose, participants, subject and measurements.

Once an account subject is scoped, the information can be used to specify one or more related accounts. A blank environmental account specification document (2.8Mb) is available to record specifications.

Demonstration vegetation extent account

The Murray-Darling Basin vegetation extent demonstration account provides a simple demonstration of the account framing methods presented in the Guide to environmental accounting in Australia. It uses the Environmental account framing workbook and is available on request.

Methods for evidence-based conceptual modelling in environmental accounting: A technical note

Expanding on one of the core requirements needed to frame an environmental account, the Technical note (3.9Mb) is a practical guide to producing a conceptual model for the account. It addresses the subjects of conceptual modelling and evidence base development and includes a comprehensive checklist.

Additionally the Bureau commissioned an example illustrating how to document the evidence required to scope and specify an account. To find out more, read What can landscape vegetation connectivity tell us about ecosystem operation? (1.1Mb).