Green Accounts in Denmark evaluation and new approach

Source: Danish EPA, 15 May 2000

Denmark has gained valuable experience with Green Accounts since 1995. Green Accounts from Danish enterprises have been evaluated, to prepare for the coming revision of the Green Accounts Act.
From a Danish EPA evaluation of green accounts covering 50% of the submitted green accounts, based on interviews with enterprises, authorities, experts, consumers and neighbours, appears that almost half of the enterprises that have prepared green accounts have indeed enhanced their environmental performance relating to energy and water consumption, raw materials, and waste management. Many enterprises have launched cleaner technology projects or projects to develop environmentally sounder goods. Some have also initiated environmental policies and action plans, or environmental management schemes.
Five of six accounts comply with legislative requirements, and the quality of accounts rises markedly over the years evaluated, although the presentation of data is not always satisfactory.
Environmental inspection authorities are worried about the administration of the green accounts scheme, pointing out the risk of duplication of work, since both local and state competent authorities may comment on the accounts.
Legislation will now be revised on the basis of the evaluation. The aim is to ensure that the green accounts are more closely linked to the environmental permit for the enterprise, and that the users ability to assess the environmental impact of an enterprise and its environmental performance is enhanced.
Another longer-term aim is expressed by the Danish Minister for Environment and Energy: "to develop green accounts into an environmental tax return", thus motivating enterprises to concentrate more on their choice of raw materials, resource and process management, and environmental impacts.
The new approach to green accounting will be based on the following elements:
Cohesion with environmental permits
Expansion of the content of accounts, with information on environmental policy, goals and results, and whether suppliers must meet environmental requirements
Change of administrative set-up, empowering local authorities to verify individual green accounts.
Information about the involvement of employees in environmental work.
Proposal to set up a forum for discussion and development of green accounts, to make them more dynamic and adaptable to new needs from users of green accounts.

Green Accounting in Denmark
Report in Danish
English summary of the report