The South African coal mining industry has a long history, dating back to the late 19th century, and contributes significantly to the economy. The coal sector employs 92,230 people and annual earnings are R27.9 billion (about US$2 billion). But the industry is causing severe environmental challenges. Environmental management has scientific and engineering aspects, of course, but there are also accounting practices which could support greener mining. Management accountants can reduce the environmental footprint of companies while keeping them profitable, by decreasing costs and waste. The original purpose of environmental management accounting was to provide information for internal use. But it can be included in a company’s financial statements and other annual reports for external stakeholders to make informed decisions. Researchers hope that more executives with decision-making powers will use the tools of environmental management accounting in future. More case studies in the South African coalmining industry would help to enhance the framework and determine its industrial scalability.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION