Publication Details

Zhang-Debreceny, E., Kaidonis, M. A. & Moerman, L. (2009). Accounting for emission rights: an environmental ethics approach. Journal of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Accountability, 15 (3), 19-27.


We argue that the International Accounting Standard Board's difficulty in arriving at a standard for accounting for emission rights, which is central to Emission Trading Schemes, is an opportunity to re-examine the issues from an environmental ethics approach. We critically evaluate the IASB approach which privileges profits, and views emission rights as tradeable entitlements to pollute. We consider social ecology, an example of an environmental ethical perspective which holds that humans' survival and the environment's sustainability are inextricably linked. We conclude that social ecology can inform accounting standard setters about the accounting treatment of emissions rights.