Ecological Management Accounting—Taking into Account Sustainability, Does Accounting Have Far to Travel?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Concerns regarding the development of environmental accounting have been around for decades. This work is an update to some of the previous questions around the development of ecological accounting to see how this has changed over the last two decades. The work is based on a systematic review of two journal articles from separate accounting journals. The two articles are by widely published academics and are formative ecological management accounting papers highlighting issues since 2000. The analysis includes a comparative review of the two articles, a review of successive articles in the journals, and a citation analysis. The first general finding is around the complex and confusing terminology that is still used, exemplified in the amorphous term sustainability. Specific findings from the paper analysis include ecological management accounting requires a fundamental change to organization management, different values exploring relationships such as material flows, inclusive of the living and physical world, with a longer time horizon, and a centrality of external factors. Due to these challenges, ecological management accounting is presently not used as a research category and therefore is an un-developed research domain. Environmental accounting is a more commonly used synonym for ecological accounting, though this term is distinct and does not cover many of the ecological challenges. Under this research area, there have more recently been attempts to bridge the difficult macro (planetary) and micro (organization) environmental challenge. Concepts such as Accounting for the Management of Ecosystems and Material Flow Cost Accounting are areas of research seen as offering future opportunities to develop into a more ecological management accounting framework, though this will ultimately require research in ecological management accounting based on a multi-disciplinary approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8854
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2020


  • Accounting
  • Ecological
  • Environmental
  • Sustainable development


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