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Abstract

The environmental accounting literature covers both public and private, or corporate, fields. The needs of private firms differ from public organisations in that environmental accounting systems must pay for themselves. Stakeholder analysis and the so-called triple bottom line forget that shareholders (and regulators) must be satisfied. However, unsatisfied stakeholders can impact on the firm’s financial prospects and on shareholder value. This leads to strategic accounting, which endogenises future environmental costs, and relates to corporate goodwill and social capital. Rethinking private environmental accounting shows how it can lead to more efficient corporate governance, and what role government can play.

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