Statistics Denmark is currently working on developing Environmental-Economic Accounts. Environmental-Economic Accounts are a tool which can be included in assessments and analysis of the sustainability of the development of society. The project, which will run from 2015-2017 has been made possible by a grant from the Danish Parliament.
The Environmental-Economic Accounts are based on internationally agreed guidelines and standards established by the UN and other international organisations. All countries are encouraged to use these guidelines. In the European Union (EU), member states are obliged to compile and report parts of the Environmental-Economic Accounts by these guidelines so that the development in the data in the countries concerned and for the EU as a whole can be followed.
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Statistics Denmark already publishes sub-accounts for many areas within the Environmental-Economic Accounts. This applies to energy, emissions to air, product and material flows, production of green goods and services, green taxes and environmental motivated subsidies and public environmental expenditure and revenue.
As part of the ‘green national accounts’ project, new accounts for waste, water and waste water have already been published. Additional accounts for environmental protection expenditures and various Danish natural resources are to be published in 2016 and 2017.
By using the same boundaries, definitions and classifications as the traditional national accounts, Environmental-Economic Accounts can highlight the relationship between the economy and the environment in a logical manner, based on the industries’ and the households’ activities. For example, it is possible to compare the industries’ production values or value added to the physical energy and water consumption used in production, and also highlight the resulting waste generation and emissions to air.
Similarly, the accounts of oil and natural gas, land, fish and forest compliment the traditional national accounts calculations of capital stock in the form of buildings, machinery and equipment with information about the stocks and use of the natural capital that is a necessary condition for the functioning of the economy.
Finally, the Environmental-Economic Accounts highlight parts of the traditional national accounts that are closely linked to environmental and natural resources. Activities such as environmental protection and the production of green goods and services and the use of green taxes and environmentally motivated subsidies and other environmental transfers are part of the national accounts, but in practice almost invisible as the information on these activities have been merged with "non-green" activities. The Environmental-Economic Accounts identify and highlight these parts of the national accounts in special sub-accounts. Thus, the Environmental-Economic Accounts contribute to highlighting areas such as green economy and green growth, as well as society's efforts to protect and preserve the environment and natural resources.