ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING: AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
(A Case Study of MTN and Chevron Nigeria Plc).
This research was conducted after a thorough work at environmental accounting and its impact assessment on business organization. The shift in business economics towards environmental issues has led to the realization of the increasing importance of research in environmental accounting. The need to increase research in environmental accounting play an important role in effective management of the environment, and issues such as environmental liability, environmental exposure and environmental assessment are being undertaken in environmental accounting.
This study employs the use of questionnaires in order to receive direct (primary) information from companies that produces environmental friendly products. The findings in this study suggests among other things, that legal authorities, standard setting bodies and other regulators cannot come to a consensus regarding the conceptual framework of environmental accounting and its disclosure. Thus, disclosure is not mandatory rather voluntary that has no specific style or format. Still, such disclosure is guided by the social responsibility and commitment on the part of entities that work as strong agents for polluting the environment.
Conclusively, issues related to managerial accounting, external and internal auditing, tax and financial accounting need to be studied further in order to deal with other environmental issues effectively.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background to the Study
1.1 Statement of Problems
1.2 Objectives of the Study
1.3 Significance of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Hypothesis
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
1.7 Research Methodology
1.8 Plan of the Study
1.9 Definition of Terms
1.10 Outline of other Chapters References
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Environmental Accounting as a Conceptual Analysis
2.2 Need of Environmental Accounting at Corporate Level
2.3 Environmental Auditing
2.4 How Environmental Issues Impact on Financial Statements
2.5 Corporate Social Responsibility
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Restatement of Research Questions
3.2 Research Hypothesis
3.3 Research Design
3.4 Population and Sampling
3.5 Research Instrument
3.6 Administration of Questionnaires
3.7 Procedure for Data Processing and Analyzing
3.8 Limitation of the Methodology
CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.1 Respondents' Characteristics and Classifications
4.2 Presentation and Analysis of Data
4.3 Testing of Hypothesis
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY
5.4 Suggestions for Further Study
1.0 Backgroundto the Study
Every business has an overriding responsibility to make the fullest possible use of its resources both human and material. An enterprise is a corporate citizen. . Like a citizen, it is esteemed' and judged by its actions in relation to the community of which it is a member as well as by its economic performance. The corporate sectors in Nigeria has not been performing as a good citizen that is why there are so many laws that have been laid down and further amended from time to time as when required to bound the corporate sector to fulfil their social responsibility for better development. Chauchan (2005), stated that "Responsibility towards environment has become one of the most crucial areas of social responsibility. Recent years have witnessed concern for environmental degradation, which is 'taking place mainly in the form of pollution of various types, viz, air, water, sound, soil erosion, deforestation, etc. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It spoils human health, reduces economic productivity and leads to loss of amenities (Chauchan 2005:720).
Theconcept of environmental accounting is an emerging and dynamic one. It is also a fruitful attempt to identify and bring to the light of the resources exhausted and cost rendered reciprocally to the environmental. Bartolomeo, et al (2000), described environmental information of interest to the public and to the financial community. Internal use is better termed Environmental Management Accounting (Bartolomeo et al, 2000:31). Environmental accounting is an expansion path. With increasing social focus on the environment, accounting fills an expectation role to measure performance. The status of environmental awareness provides dynamic for business reporting its environmental performance. Environmental accounting is described as involving the identification, measurement and allocation of environmental costs, the integration of these costs into business, identifying environmental liabilities, if any, and finally communicating this information to the company's stakeholders on a part .of general purpose financial statements (Pramanik, Shil and Das, 2007: 18). In many countries, environmental accounting is taken to mean the identification and reporting of environment specific cost such as liability cost and waste disposal costs. It is accounting for any costs and benefits that arise from change to a firm's products and processes where the change also involves a change in environmental impact (Chauchan, 2005:720). Environmental accounting needs to work as a tool to measure the economic efficiency of environmental conservations activities and the environmental efficiency of the business activities of company on a whole. In this sense, it is comprehensive approach to ensure governance that includes transparency in its societal activities. It is seen as by corporate managers and environmental advocates alike as a necessary complement to improve environmental decision making within the private sector.
From a public perspective, poor environmental accounting means that the private sector is likely to miss investment and predict design opportunities that have 'financial and environmental benefits. It is widely believed that environmental accounting practices, working in organization with theprivate sector's own profit motive will crease significant environmental benefits. However, environmental accounting is a broader term and more expansive when compare to the traditional accounting paradigm in that it allows the taking of corrective management action to reduce environmental impacts and cost plans, where appropriate, the external reporting of the environmental and financial benefits in verified corporate environmental reports or published annual reports, thus serving as a vital tool to assist management of our environmental risks and operational costs and for understanding the role played by the natural environment in the economy.
1.1 Statement of the Problems
It is amazing that despite the technological advancement worldwide, the development of human cultures, together with man's capacity to store, retrieve knowledge and apply informed foresight to the conduct of affairs, man is yet to possess adequate capacity and holistic responsibility which would enable him to ensure a total harmonious relationship with the environment. In Nigeria, where the population is more than 150 million yielding an average density of more than 120 persons per square kilometer.
From this fact, it is obvious that' Nigeria is already experiencing high population density. The interaction of these millions of Nigerian with their respective" environment has left indelible mark on the landscape. The manifestation of these impacts includes: urbanization, deforestation, desertification, overpopulation and all kinds of pollution. These impacts have both negative and positive effects on the natural environment. It is the negative impacts of man's interaction with the environment that is emphasized in this study (Omofonmwan and Osa-Edoh, 2008).
In recent years, environmental pollution becomes so acute and the stakeholders' awareness to the issue becomes so serious that environmental accounting has become a strong branch of accounting. The present civilization has involved us in varied activities. The ultimate disposal of the waste leads to environmental pollution: In many parts of the world, the magnitude of pollution has already reached an alarming level. During fifties through sixties of the 19th century, people all over the world become more concerned about the quality of their environment. Well-known environmental tragedies such as the massive oil spill in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria has reinforced in people's mind the sense that the quality of air, water and a wide range of other natural resources was being seriously degraded. The intensity of danger from chemicals can be gauged from the extent of havoc caused by the accident in some of the multinational companies which has killed and affected several people. The awareness of the environmental and man's ability to cause damage started from the fifties of the 19th century.
The adverse environmental effect of economic development has become a matter of great public concern all over the world. Gradually, environment is becoming a much more urgent, economic, social and political problem.
Accountants, as the basic custodian and light bearers of economic development can no longer shut their eyes to the effect of environmental issues on business management, accounting, auditing and disclosure system.
Protection of environmental and the potential involvement of accountants is becoming a common subject of discussion among the accountants all over the world. Nowadays, accountants are expected to take a proactive role in the environmental protection process. With the advent of liberalization, removal of trade barrier makes it logical that the costs of environmental degradation due to industrial activities should be internalized in corporate accounts to the extent possible. That is why environmental accounting is of paramount important today.
1.2 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are stated as follows: To
(a) Discuss the principles and theories of environmental accounting.
(b) Investigate the causes of population in the Nigerian industries
(c) Assess the impact of the social responsibilities of the Nigerian oil companies on its operating environment.
(d) Help businesses understand the full range of environmental costs they incur and how to incorporate these costs into their decision making.
(e) Proffer possible solutions on how efficiently and effectively to properly manage our environment.
1.3 Significance of the Study
The significance of the outcome of this study is as follows:
(a) It will help companies improve their environmental performance, achieve cost savings or increased revenues;
(b) Environmental accounting will also help in supporting rational making in an organization by having a better insight into the potential befit of investment and costs.
(c) It will also help in the disclosure of environmental accounting results which will function as a means for companies to fulfil theirresponsibility to stakeholders and simultaneously, as a means for appropriate evaluation of environmental conservation activities.
(d) It will help companies and other organizations boost their public trust and confidence and are associated with receiving a fair assessment.
1.4 Research Questions
(a) What are the principles and practices of environmental accounting?
(b) What are the causes of pollution and other environmental problems in the Nigeria industries?
(c) What are the impacts of the-social responsibilities of the Nigerian oil companies on its operating environment and how can it be assessed?
(d) What are those environmental costs to be incorporated into business costs for decision making?
(e) What are the 'possible solutions to the environmental problem?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are postulated for the study.
Ho: Environmental accounting is not useful in the identification of environmental costs and benefits.
Hi: Environmental accounting is useful in the identification of environmental cost as benefits.
Ho: Environmental Accounting does not translate to profitability.
Hi: Environmental Accounting translates to profitability.
1.6 Scopeand Limitations of the Study
This research work is designed to cover the various business undertakings in Nigeria, in particular, the MTN Telecommunications, Chevron PIc. However, the study was constructed' by the various factors which hindered in bringing about a broader scope of the study. These factors include:
(i) The time with which the study was to be submitted.
(ii) The negative attitude of the personnel in the various organizations in Nigeria.
(iii) Distrust of the personnel due to their thinking that the study was meant to disclosure their flaws.
(iv) Finance i.e. limited funds.
(v) Distance: Distance was also a limitation of this study.
1. 7 Research Methodology
Primary data shall be used in the course of this research work. It shall be sourced via the survey method i.e. the questionnaire designed by the researcher and distributed to the respondents. The researcher would then collect the filled questionnaire from the respondents in order to analyses the data collected with the appropriate statistical instrument(s).
The data, which will be collected from the questionnaire, will be analyzed using the simple percentage method and chi-square. The simple percentages will be calculated by dividing the total number of questions answered by the total number of questions and then multiply by 100.
1.8 Plan of the Study
This research work will be divided into five chapters. The first chapter will be introduction. Chapter two will focus on the literature review and theoretical framework of environmental accounting. The third Chapter will be based on the methodology stating the sample design and the sampling method to be used. Chapter four would comprise the interpretation and analysis of responses from the questionnaire that would be collected using the Chi-square(X2) statistical tool while the final chapter, which is chapter five, comprises the summary of findings, conclusion, and recommendation.
1.9 Definition of Terms
(i) Environmental Degradation: It is defined as the abuse of the environment due to improper resources management (Omofonmwan and Osa-Edoh, 2008).
(ii) Environmental Conservation: This is the prevention, reduction and/ or avoidance of environmental impact, removal of such impact, restoration following the occurrence' of disinter and other activities (Omofonmwan and Osa-Edoh, 2008).
(iii) Deforestation: The act of cutting down or burning the trees in an area (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary).
(iv) Desertification: The process of becoming or making something a desert (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary).
1.10 Outline of other Chapters
The rest of the researches carried out were as follows:
Chapter Two: Literature Review - This chapter highlights the view of other works and provides tentative answers to the research question stated in chapter one.
Chapter Three: Research Methodology - This chapter describes the various methods used in the Research study. Sampling design and procedure will be the 'major work in this chapter.
Chapter Four: Data Analysis and Presentation - This chapter covers the analysis of the data gathered in chapter three through the use of statistical tools to test the research hypotheses and interprets the results.
Chapter Five: Summary, conclusion and recommendations - This chapter will summarize the whole research paper. Conclusion will also be drawn from the findings and recommendation will also be given to the Research problems.
Adefemi, O. (1987): Characteristics of Environmental Problems in Nigeria and Management Prospects. http:fwww.springerlink.com.
Bartolomeo, M. et al (2000): Environmental Management accounting in Europe Current Practice and Future Potential. The European Accounting Review 9(i):31-52.
Chauchan, M. (2005): Concept of Environmental Accounting and Practice in India.
James, B. (1998): The Benefits of Improved Environmental Accounting - An Economic Framework to Identify Priorities, Discussion Paper 98-49, September. http:www.rff.orgf documents/ RFF - DP-98-49 .Pdf
Minister of Environment, Japan: Environmental Accounting Guidelines (2005). http:www.env.go.jplenfpolicyfsseefeag05.pdf.
Omofonmwan and Osa-Edoh (2008): The Challenges of Environmental Problems in Nigeria.
Pramanik, Shil and Das (2007): Environmental Accounting and Reporting with social Reference to India. http:f fmpra.ub.uni.muenchen.def7712f
Yakhou, M. and Dorweiler, V. (2004): Environmental Accounting: An Essential Component of Business Strategy.ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTING: AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
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