One of the features of the 1993 revision of the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA) is the introduction of satellite accounts which expands the analytical capability of national accounting in selected areas of concern in a flexible manner without overburdening or disrupting the central system.

In this 1993 version of the UNSNA, environmental analysis was dealt with as one of several topics that could be pursued as a functionally oriented satellite account. It was also dealt with in the context of a broadened framework that amends several concepts of the SNA to respond to the growing concerns of incorporating environmental criteria in economic analysis.

The result is the SEEA which synthesizes as far as possible the various environment and natural resource approaches and integrates them into one approach. The SEEA is a comprehensive approach to adjusting national accounts, allocating environmental impacts of depletion and degradation to separate economic activities causing these environmental impacts and to expenditure components corresponding to quantitative and qualitative changes in natural assets. It introduces an enlarged concept of capital accumulation, which not only reflect depletion and degradation but also the transfer of natural resources to economic uses. Since the SEEA was developed in immediate relation to the SNA its concepts and classifications are more closely linked to those of the SNA than is the case for any other environmental accounting system.

Other developed approaches include the Peskin approach and the National Accounting Matrix Including Environmental Accounts (NAMEA). Both the Peskin and the UNSEEA aim to correct the SNA to reflect the interaction between the environment and the effects of the nation's economic activities. The NAMEA though extending some of its conventional accounts to include environmental factors and transactions, does not correct the SNA but rather create additional environmental accounts expressed in physical terms.

PSEEA Framework Table

The Peskin model "explicitly accounts for the economically valuable services of natural resources and the environment as a medium for the disposal of wastes, a supplier of recreational services, esthetics, and the life support of species", (ENRAP, 1991).

Comparisons have been made between the Peskin model and the UN SEEA framework.

Comparison of Peskin's Method and UNSEEA


Matrix of Comparison between the ENRAP (Peskin's Model) and the UNSEEA framework

(derived during the Technical Consultation Workshop on the Peskin's and the UNSEEA Approach between the ENRAP and the NSCB)

The NAMEA, on the other hand, was developed by the Department of National Accounts, Central Bureau of Statistics through the leadership of Steven J. Keuning. It consists of a conventional national accounting matrix extended with environmental accounts. Some parts of the conventional accounts (Accounts 1-3, 8-9) have, however, segregated environmental factors and transactions such as environmental cleansing services, consumption goods, environmental taxes, exports and imports of unwanted pollutants. The environmental accounts (Accounts 11-13) are expressed only in physical terms which include the different pollutants and their origin, extraction of natural resources, global (2) and national (4) themes.

Comparison between NAMEA and UNSEEA

Actual uses and applications of the NAMEA include: policy formulation to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen emissions by factory farms as approved by the Dutch Parliament; catalyst in reaching voluntary agreements between the Dutch government and industry representatives leading to significant reduction of toxic emissions; used in budget speech and government studies in modeling and forecasting. The successful applications of the NAMEA framework led to the release in 1994 of an official communication from the Commission of the European Communities to the Council of Minister and the European Parliament, with the objective of establishing a European System of Integrated Economic and Environmental Indices, using the NAMEA framework as the basis.