What is it?
The environmental activity accounts in System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) provide information on transactions concerning activity undertaken to preserve and protect the environment. These accounts follow a purpose-based approach and use the structures and principles laid out in the SEEA Central Framework. Understanding environmental activity is critical to understanding whether economic resources are being used effectively to reduce pressures on the environment and maintain the capacity of the environment to deliver benefits.
How it works
The SEEA Environmental Activity Accounts cover the three main environmental activity areas of environmental protection expenditures, environmental goods and services, and taxes and subsidies:
- Environmental Protection Expenditure Accounts: These accounts record information on the supply and use of environmental protection goods and services by type of good or service and financing unit. These accounts can be used to analyse the extent of environmental protection activities and how expenditures on environmental protection are financed.
- Environmental Goods and Services Sector Accounts: These accounts provide information on the production of environmental goods and services from the supply perspective. These accounts classify production of environmental goods and services by type of output and type of producer and can be used to understand the economic response to the challenges of environmental degradation. In addition, they may provide valuable source data for the SEEA Environmental Protection Expenditure Accounts.
- Tax and subsidy accounts: These accounts provide information on taxes and subsidies for which transactions take place between institutional units. These accounts record payments to and from government as well as transactions of a similar nature recorded in the national accounts that may be of interest in the analysis of environmental matters (i.e. donations by households to nonprofit environmental groups).
Environmental Activity Accounting and the SEEA Central Framework
Environmental activity accounts are one of the many types of accounts covered by the SEEA Central Framework, all of which use the same accounting concepts. The SEEA Environmental Activity Accounts provide an important resource to those looking to assess whether economic resources are being used effectively to reduce pressures on the environment and to compare different policies.