1.1 Background to the Study
The need for Environmental Accounting has become the concern and focus of nations and responsible corporate managements. It became one of the foremost issues on the agenda of nations and businesses earlier in the 1990s and the reasons for this were varied emanating from both within and outside of the firm and particularly at the global level (Okoye and Ngwakwe:2004:220-235). A lot of government enactments, laws and regulations on environmental protection have been made in several nations of the world.
In the light of the awakening to environment protection, various laws and regulations such as the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, ...view middle of the document...
It is rightly said that the world’s two greatest challenges are poverty and the systematic destruction of the environment. These two challenges have the capacity to destroy the entire world. It is considered that the world’s poverty level, particularly in the less developed nations is largely due to the inability to manage environment which is fast degrading. Whereas industrial emissions and effluence constitute great threat to the atmosphere, the native farmers are no less a threat to the effect of the ozone layer, the seas, oceans and land. Local farmers also systematically destroy the biodiversity through continued crude method of farming, felling of trees and bush burning and non-sustaining fishing methods without replacement of the natural resources.
Environmental issues for purpose of economic and cost accounting have also been controversial even though the topic has been identified for discussions for the past four decades. This is because common criteria for value measurement of non-marketed, non-monetized resources and impact on externalities have not been agreed.
Previously, corporate organizations have ranked business considerations based on profitability. Companies have also recognized all indirect expenditures as overheads without accounting for impact on externalities. According to B. Field and M. Field (2002: xv), little was recognized of the environmental depletion and degradation to the environment until a few well-meaning people in the developed countries realized that it was no good having great corporate profits and material well-being if they come at the cost of large scale of the ecosystem by which we are nourished. It became clear that degradation, pollution and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem and the depletion of non-renewable environment biodiversity would soon become very dangerous to human existence.
B. Field and M. Field conclude that, ‘what once were localized environmental impacts, easily rectified, have now become widespread effects that may very well turn out to be irreversible.’
The world at large has need to evaluate, assess and effect accounting reporting for raw materials, energy consumption and use of natural resources which have systematically depleted the environment. Besides, the negative impact on the biodiversity through human and industrial activities and the nations’ need to protect the environment, have made for global regulations. These regulatory environmental laws however require only voluntary disclosure in financial statements of environmental information on industrial emissions, degradations, industrial wastages and all activities which impact negatively on the environment. As a result of the great impact on the ecology of oil and gas producing environment of the Niger Delta in Nigeria, which has caused political unrest in the area, Owolabi (2007:63) is of the opinion that the political unrest in the Niger Delta cannot be wished away until there is a policy to incorporate...