Journal of Management Control

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 227–243 | Cite as

Improving environmental management accounting: how to use statistics to better determine energy consumption

  • Björn Christensen
  • Alexander HimmeEmail author
Short Survey Paper


The accounting literature voices increased concerns about sustainability issues. Environmental performance as one dimension of sustainability includes among others the management and control of energy. Energy is a key production factor to which the stakeholders of a firm pay increased attention. Since energy has a significant influence on the economic costs and the environmental footprint of firms, management accounting is under growing pressure to better monitor and control energy costs. As a consequence, management accounting needs to develop energy management systems which control energy consumption and aim to reduce energy costs which in turn diminish a firm’s environmental impact and thus improve corporate reputation. One of the most important elements for energy management systems is an effective and cost-efficient measure of the energy consumption. However, firms and their management accounting departments, respectively, are still struggling to develop any cost-efficient approach for measuring energy consumption. That is why we suggest a statistical approach to easily and cost-efficiently measure energy utilization which in turn provides information input to improve environmental management accounting (e.g., cost allocations). We demonstrate our approach for a firm from an energy-intensive industry. The approach allows to distinguish more efficient from less efficient production units. We derive implications from this measurement approach for environmental management accounting and environmental management control systems.


Energy efficiency Energy management systems Environmental management accounting Sustainable development Regression analysis 

JEL Classification

M40 M41 Q4 


  1. Albelda, E. (2011). The role of management accounting practices as facilitators of the environmental management. Evidence from EMAS organisations. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 2, 76–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bansal, P. (2005). Evolving sustainability: A longitudinal study of corporate sustainable development. Strategic Management Journal, 26, 197–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bansal, P., & DesJardine, M. R. (2014). Business sustainability: It is about time. Strategic Organization, 12, 70–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartolomeo, M., Bennett, M., Bouma, J. J., Heydkamp, P., James, P., & Wolters, T. (2000). Environmental management accounting in Europe: Current practice and future potential. European Accounting Review, 9, 31–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bebbington, J. (2001). Sustainable development: A review of the international development, business and accounting literature. Accounting Forum, 25, 128–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bebbington, J. (2009). Measuring sustainable development performance: Possibilities and issues. Accounting Forum, 33, 189–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bebbington, J., & Gray, R. (2001). An account of sustainability: Failure, success and a reconceptualization. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 12, 557–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bebbington, J., & Larrinaga, C. (2014). Accounting and Sustainable Development: An Exploration. Accounting, Organizations, and Society, 39, 395–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bierer, A., & Götze, U. (2013). Energiekosten als Betrachtungsobjekt der Kostenrechnung—eine Bestandsaufnahme. In Neugebauer, R., Götze, U., & Drossel, W.-G. (Eds.), Energetisch-wirtschaftliche Bilanzierung und Bewertung technischer Systeme—Erkenntnisse aus dem Spitzentechnologiecluster eniPROD, Tagungsband zum 1. und 2. Methodenworkshop der Querschnittsarbeitsgruppe 1 ,,Energetisch-wirtschaftliche Bilanzierung” (pp. 95–114). Auerbach: Verlag wissenschaftliche Scripten.Google Scholar
  10. Bouten, L., & Hoozée, S. (2013). On the interplay between environmental reporting and management accounting change. Management Accounting Research, 24, 333–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burritt, R. L. (2004). Environmental management accounting: Roadblocks on the way to the green and pleasant land. Business Strategy and the Environment, 13, 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burritt, R. L., & Schaltegger, S. (2010). Sustainability accounting and reporting: Fad or trend. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 25, 829–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burnett, R. D., & Hansen, D. R. (2008). Ecoefficiency: Defining a role for environmental cost management. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33, 551–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. EC (2009). Directive 2009/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community. Official Journal of the European Union, L140/63.
  15. Endrikat, J., Guenther, E., & Hoppe, H. (2014). Making sense of conflicting findings: A meta-analytic review of the relationship between corporate environmental and financial performance. European Management Journal, 32, 735–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. EIA. (2015). Annual energy outlook 2015. Washington, DC: U.S. Energy Information Administration.Google Scholar
  17. Ferreira, A., Moulang, C., & Hendro, B. (2010). Environmental management accounting and innovation: An exploratory analysis. Accounting, Auditing, and Accountability Journal, 23, 920–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Figge, F., Hahn, T., Schaltegger, S., & Wagner, M. (2002). The sustainability balanced scorecard-linking the sustainability management to business strategy. Business Strategy and the Environment, 11, 269–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fonseca, S. A., & Jabbour, C. J. C. (2012). Assessment of business incubators’ green performance: A framework and its application to Brazilian cases. Technovation, 32, 122–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gond, J.-P., Grubnic, S., Herzig, C., & Moon, J. (2012). Configuring management control systems: Theorizing the integration of strategy and sustainability. Management Accounting Research, 23, 205–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gray, R. (2010). Is accounting for sustainability actually accounting for sustainability.. and how would we know? An exploration of narratives of organisations and the planet. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 35, 47–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gray, R., & Bebbington, J. (2000). Environmental accounting, managerialism and sustainability: Is the planet safe in the hands of business and accounting? Advances in Environmental Accounting and Management, 1, 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greene, W. H. (2012). Econometric analysis (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  24. Guenther, E., Endrikat, E., & Guenther, T. W. (2016). Environmental management control systems: A conceptualization and review of the empirical evidence. Journal of Cleaner Production, 136 (Part A), 147–171.Google Scholar
  25. Heffels, T., McKenna, R., & Fichtner, W. (2012). Direct marketing of electricity from biogas and biomethane: An economic analysis of several business models in Germany. Journal of Management Control, 23, 53–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Henri, J.-F., & Journeault, M. (2010). Eco-control: The influence of management control systems on environmental and economic performance. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 35, 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hopwood, A., Unerman, J., & Fries, J. (2010). Introduction to the accounting for sustainability case studies. In A. Hopwood, J. Unerman, & J. Fries (Eds.), Accounting for sustainability, practical insights (pp. 1–28). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  28. Introna, V., Cesarotti, V., Benedetti, M., Biagotti, S., & Rotunno, R. (2014). Energy management maturity model: An organizational tool to foster the continuous reduction of energy consumption in companies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 83, 108–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jung, E. J., Kim, J. S., & Rhee, S. K. (2001). The measurement of corporate environmental performance and its application to the analysis of efficiency in oil industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 9, 551–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaplan, R. S., & Norton, D. P. (1996). The balanced scorecard. Translating strategy into action. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  31. Layer, M., & Strebel, H. (1984). Energie als produktionswirtschaftlicher Tatbestand. Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft, 54, 638–663.Google Scholar
  32. May, G., Barletta, I., Stahl, B., & Taisch, M. (2015). Energy management in production: A novel method to develop key performance indicators for improving energy efficiency. Applied Energy, 149, 46–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McCormick, K., Neij, L., Mont, O., Ryan, C., Rodhe, H., & Orsato, R. (2016). Advancing sustainable solutions: An interdisciplinary and collaborative research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 123, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Menard, S. (1995). Applied logistic regression analysis: Sage University series on quantitative applications in the social sciences. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Neter, J., Wasserman, W., & Kutner, M. H. (1989). Applied linear regression models. Homewood: Irwin.Google Scholar
  36. Perego, P., & Hartmann, F. (2009). Aligning performance measurement with strategy: The case of environmental strategy. Abacus, 45, 397–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Posch, A., Brudermann, T., Braschel, N., & Gabriel, M. (2015). Strategic energy management in energy-intensive enterprises: A quantitative analysis of relevant factors in the Austrian paper and pulp industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 90, 291–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Poser, C., Guenther, E., & Orlitzky, M. (2012). Shades of green: Using computer-aided qualitative data analysis to explore different aspects of corporate environmental performance. Journal of Management Control, 22, 413–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rohdin, P., & Thollander, P. (2006). Barriers to and driving forces for energy efficiency in the non-energy intensive manufacturing industry in Sweden. Energy, 31, 1836–1844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schaltegger, S. (2010). Nachhaltigkeit als Treiber des Unternehmenserfolgs: Folgerungen für die Entwicklung eines Nachhaltigkeitscontrollings. Controlling, 22, 238–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schaltegger, S., & Burritt, R. L. (2010). Sustainability accounting for companies: Catchphrase or decision support for business leaders? Journal of World Business, 45, 375–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schultze, W., & Trommer, R. (2012). The concept of environmental performance and its measurement in empirical studies. Journal of Management Control, 22, 375–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schulze, M., Nehler, H., Ottosson, M., & Thollander, P. (2016). Energy management in industry–a systematic review of previous findings and an integrative conceptual framework. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 3692–3708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Searcy, C. (2012). Corporate sustainability performance measurement systems: A review and research agenda. Journal of Business Ethics, 107, 239–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Spence, L. J., & Rinaldi, L. (2012). Governmentality in accounting and accountability: A case study of embedding sustainability in a supply chain. Organizations and Society, 39, 433–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thollander, P., & Ottosson, M. (2008). An energy efficient Swedish pulp and paper industry-exploring barriers to and driving forces for cost-effective energy efficiency investments. Energy Efficiency, 1, 21–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thollander, P., & Ottosson, M. (2010). Energy management practices in Swedish energy-intensive industries. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18, 1125–1133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Trianni, A., Cagno, E., Marchesani, F., & Spallina, G. (2016a). Classification of drivers for industrial energy efficiency and their effect on the barriers affecting the investment decision-making process. Energy Efficiency, 5, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Trianni, A., Cagno, E., & Farné, S. (2016b). Barriers, drivers and decision-making process for industrial energy efficiency: A broad study among manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises. Applied Energy, 162, 1537–1551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. VDE (2011). VDE-AR-N 4400: Updated standards for electricity metrology (“Aktualisierte Standards für das Messwesen Strom”). VDE Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik e.V. (Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies), Frankfurt a.M. Accessed 02 July 2016.
  51. VDE (2015). VDE-AR-N 4401: Technical requirements for meter panels in low-voltage electrical systems (“Anforderungen an Zählerplätze in elektrischen Anlagen im Niederspannungsnetz”). VDE Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik e.V. (Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies), Frankfurt a.M. Accessed 02 July 2016.
  52. Virtanen, T., Tuomaala, M., & Pentti, E. (2013). Energy efficiency complexities: A technical and managerial investigation. Management Accounting Research, 24, 401–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. WCED. (1987). Our common future. World commission on environment and development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Worrell, E., Bernstein, L., Roy, J., Price, L., & Harnisch, J. (2009). Industrial energy efficiency and climate change mitigation. Energy Efficiency, 2, 109–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kiel University of Applied SciencesKielGermany
  2. 2.Kühne Logistics UniversityHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations