some of the problems that accountants face in extending these developments. The current lack of development in related internal management-reporting, decision making, and cost-accounting systems is argued to be the major inhibitor to further improvement.


A report of the Environment Research Group (ERG) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) (Macve and Carey, 1992) recommended2 that, as part of the annual reporting cycle, a U.K. company should publish details of

  • the company's environmental policy;

  • the identity of the director with overall responsibility for environmental issues;

  • the company's environmental objectives, which should be expressed so that performance against them can be measured (environmental targets and performance as far as possible should be reported in quantifiable technical or financial terms);

  • information on actions taken, including details of the nature and amount of expenditure incurred, in pursuit of the identified environmental objectives;

  • the key impacts of the business on the environment and, if practicable, related measures of environmental performance;

  • the extent of compliance with regulations and any industry guidelines including, if applicable, whether the company's sites are registered under the European Community's ecology-audit scheme and the details relating to applications and approvals for registration under British Standard 7750 (Environmental Management Systems);

  • significant environmental risks not required to be disclosed as contingent liabilities; and

  • key features of external audit reports on the enterprise's environmental activities, including those relating to particular sites.

It was also recommended that when this information is provided in a document separate from the company's annual report and accounts, the latter should contain a reference to the availability of such information.


Recent surveys indicate a very limited response by U.K. companies to reporting on environmental issues (Butler et al., 1992; Federation des Experts Compatible Europeans, 1993; KPMG, 1993; Macve and Carey, 1992). There are,

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