Costing Life: Air, Water and Food

By Janek Ratnatunga.

Air, Water and Food, are the fundamental requirements for life to exist on this Earth. However, emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is not only causing climate change, but also air pollution.  Management accountants can provide policy related decision information on investments and other actions taken to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants. Water costs are related to the issues of climate change. It is clear that many industries depend on water in the supply chain for their workforce and production and to maintain a healthy operating environment. However, the average cost of water is so cheap that there’s no incentive to conserve or protect it. Should the water price be reflective of its value or is water a basic human right? All these arguments should be backed by reliable cost calculations, and price demand forecasts, clearly an area for management accounting involvement.

Finally, the paper addresses the issue of ‘food’, i.e. how big business has taken ownership of the genetically modified (GM) ‘seeds’ required to grow the food.   By using patents, they have taken away a farmer’s right to save seeds for the next season. The paper argues that management accountants need to undertake the calculations that favour humanity, rather than profits.

Download PDF JAMARv12.1-Costing for Life -Editorial


About Prof Janek Ratnatunga 1129 Articles
Professor Janek Ratnatunga is CEO of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. He has held appointments at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Australian National University in Australia; and the Universities of Washington, Richmond and Rhode Island in the USA. Prior to his academic career he worked with KPMG.