Scoping Workshop on the SEEA and Business Accounting
There is an increasing recognition within the private sector of the importance of including the environment in business decision making. A pre-requisite of this is the ability to incorporate environmental issues into business accounting and company reporting. There are a growing number of initiatives seeking to standardize sustainability accounting and reporting processes and outcomes. Similar developments are occurring within governments attempting to understand the value of the environment and engage the private sector to help in delivering policies and programmes that safeguard that value for future developments.
In order for the public and private sectors to join forces in decision making and reporting on the relationships between the economy and environment, effort is needed for both communities to understand the needs and approaches of the other. At the national level, the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) is the international statistical standard that produces internationally comparable statistics and accounts that provide a view of the interrelationships between the economy and environment. At the business level, financial accounting is standardized through the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and there exist many initiatives for business accounting and reporting on the environment, although a globally accepted standard is lacking. Steps towards aligning public and private sector approaches have been made, but this alignment is still in a stage of infancy.
To contribute to advancing these issues, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) is holding a technical scoping workshop to better understand the synergies and differences of the public and private sectors in terms of natural capital accounting approaches and data requirements. This workshop is one of the activities of the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services Project, a multi-year project funded by the European Union, to advance natural capital accounting in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, India and China as a pilot for a more global initiative.
The workshop will be held from 16-17 October at UNHQ in New York.