GREEN BALANCE SHEET : A TOOL TO UNDERSTAND RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AN INDIVIDUAL AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Mr. Sudhir Purohit
Jai Narain Vyas University,
The Human Life is all about what we give an what we take. We get in return what we give. The same principles of Life applies to the Human behavour and the Environment. If we can breathe today, it is all because of the protection done or damage not done of the environment by our forefathers. It is high time for us to analyze and measure our Contribution and our Withdrawals towards the Environment. This is possible only if we conncet an Individual with the Environment in such a way that waht is contributed to the Environment and taxed to the environment by an individual, can be measured in monetary terms. The attempt is amde to underscore the Rights and Respocibilities of an individual towards the environment with the help of Green Balance Sheet of an individual in connection with his Green Assets, what he has contributred to Environment and Green Liabilities what he has withdrawn from the Environment. It is the environment which runs the Life of an individual, same as the Owner runs his Business. The paper tries to make people understand how the concept of Green Balance Sheet (GBS) shall help in undestanding the Relationship between an individual and the Environment.
The nature has taken million of years to make the environment supportive for the existence. But unfortunately only in less than 5 centuries the human being have made and are making this earth not suitable for their existence.
The human prudence forces us to think and find some solution to rectify the mistakes of harming the environment. A two prong strategy is required to meet this challenge of Environmental Threat facing the human society at present namely, one: to eliminate or restrict all those human actions which are affecting the environment negatively and two: motivating the human efforts which supports the environment positively.
Environment protection has gained a great concern of today’s generation. This concern is reflected in all fields of knowledge including the social sciences. We in the field of accounting have added a new area of specialization called Environmental Accounting. The same is also termed as Green Accounting too. The contents and contours of Green Accounting are still not rigidly defined. This area of knowledge is still growing as per the needs of the society. When it is referred at Macro Economic level then it includes National Accounts adjusted for environmental concerns whereas at corporate level the Financial Accounts which report about the cost incurred for conservation of the environment are designated as Environmental/Green Accounts. The Green Accounting from the individual’s perspective has still not been spotted while going through the available literature on Environmental/Green Accounting.
Environmental protection has become a buzz word all over the world. It has attracted the attention of researchers from all the fields of knowledge – the field of accounting has not been an exception.
The protection of the environment will only be achived if an individual is associated, motivated and activated towards the Mission to protect the Environment. This can be done only by making each individual aware about his liabilities towards environment (i.e. towards Mother Nature) in quantified form against his asets (the contribution made by him to foster the environment ) in quantified form. This excercise will be needed to create a ” Green Balance of an individual”.
The phrase Green Balances Sheet links us with the concept of Financial Balance Sheet. The Financial Balance Sheet is normally prepared for a business. The concept behind preparing the Balance sheet treats ” the Business” and “the Owner” separately. The Balance sheet of business reports the State of Affairs of the business on a particular date.
“The Assets” and “the Liabilities” shown in the Balance Sheet are of the Business in literal terms. When the assets are in excess of liabilities, it is shown as Capital. The Capital is written in the liability side, sometimes amazes the common man how the capital can be a liability? But when explained by the Accounting Experts that the business and the businessman are two separate entities and here the business as a theoretical entity says that it is my liability towards the owner (the businessman). It is therefore the Capital is shown as liability.
Taking the simile from the aforesaid concepts, we for our Green Balance Sheet of an Individual, can communicate that the Balance Sheet so prepared will report the State of Affairs of “an individual(the Business)”with reference to “the environment (the Businessman or owner)” on a particular date. In the proposed Green Balance Sheet, the Excess of assets over liabilities will be shown as “Capital of the Environment” as a positive figure. But the excess of liabilities over assets will be shown as Capital of the environment as a negative figure.
The capital of the environment, when positive will be printed in Green ink. And the capital of the environment, when Negative will be printed in Red ink.
The life is all about give and take relationship. Our growth should not be at the cost of our kids and future generation. We get what we give. It is very important to note that if we can breath today it’s all because our forefathers who saved the environment and preserved for us. With the passage of time, we have realized that the environment is not cared the way it should be. It is therefore bouncing back in the form of natural disasters like earth quakes, floods famines etc.
A living individual affects the environment positively and negatively as well. An aggregate effect of all individual actions has harmed the existing environment and the same has attracted the attention of the researchers from all disciplines.
Now it’s high time to analyze an individual’s responsibility by finding out ways and a means not only to protect the environment but to develop a direct and smooth relationship between and environment and an individual.
In the field of Accounting the Environmental/ Green Accounting has come to figure out its place in theory and practice as well. When reviewed it was identified that this branch of Accounting is still growing; its contents and contours are not yet rigidly defined. The Environmental/ Green accounting from the point of view of an individual is conspicuous by its absence. It is therefore we have decided to develop a new segment in the field of Environmental/Green accounting i.e. Green Balance Sheet of an Individual.
An individual is born with the Gift of an Environment wher he/she can survive and live a life of human being. The nature has gifted him an intelect over and above the intellect possessed by other species on earth. Human beings since it’s inception have utiliszed their intellect to make their Life and Living more and more comfortable. For this they have discovered and intended several things. These discoveries and inventions have definately contributed in their comfotrts. But all these facilities so generated have affected the Environment adversely; off course this was not noticed by the human Beings for several centuries- as the same were slow and subtle.
The generation of new knowledge and technology has helped the human beings to detect and measure the changes taking place in the environment. The Scientific Researches in the field of environment has helped to identify the factors responsible for affecting the environment adversly.
The most important factor affecting the environment of the Earth adversly is identified as the reckless , irrational and irresponsible behaviour of human being all over the Globe.
In the recent past several Research Studies have been taken up by the Researchers of all areas to understand and comabat the problem realating to Environmental Issues.
Green Balance Sheet (GBS)
In understanding GBS it wil be good to recollect thge details of Balance Sheet as popularly used by business concerns. It is a condensed statement that shows the Financial Position of an entitity on a specified date ( usually the last day of an accounting period) is called as Balance Sheet. Among othe items of information, a balance sheet states (1) what assets the entity owns, (2) How it paid for them, (3) what it owes( its Liabilities), and (4) what is the amount left after satisfying the Liabilities. Balance Sheet data is based on a fundamental accountin equation( Assets= Liabilities + Owners’ equity), and is classiffied under sub- headings such as Current assets, Fixed Assets, Current Liabilities, Long-term liabilities.
An audited Balance Sheet is often demanded by investors ,lenders, suppliers and taxation authorities, and is usually required by Law. To be considered valid, a balance sheet must give a True and Fair View of an organisation’s state of affairs and must follow the provisions of relevant Laws.
This statement is also called statement of condition, statement of financial condition or statement of financial position.
Green Balance Sheet (GBS) af an Individual will give a Picture of what an individual hjas contributed ( popularly known as Green Assets) and what he has withdrwn from the environment ( Popularly known as Green Liabilities).And this Green Assets and Green liabilities will be presented in a Format of Balance Sheet. The Green Balance Sheet so developed will reflect an individual’s position towards the Mothe Nature.
The GBS will answer publicly what an Individual owes ( Green Liabilities )or what he owes ( Green Assets ). When his Green Assets will exeed the green liabilities then he will be contributing in the common pool of Environmental Capital and when his Green liabilities exeeds his Green Assets then he will be held responsible for reducing the common pool of Environmental Capital. With refernce to the aforesaid discussion a Tentative Format of the GBS will appear as follows.
Green Balance Sheet of An Individual as on ………………
Green Liabilities Amount Green Assets Amount
Addition to the Environmental capital xxx Natural Assets
(soil,water,air,fire, space or atmosphere) xxx
What I enjoy xx What I contribute xx
What I Pluck xx What I Plough xx
What I Get xx What I give xx
What I Pollute xx What I rectify or Purify xx
How did I harmed the envt. xx How I helped or protected the Envt. xx
Total of Green Liabilities xxx Total of Green Assets xxx
The above is the sample Green Balance Sheet of an individual based on the exploratory research, on the basis of the Foot Prints or Green points created by an Individual because of his positive and negative activities affecting the Environment during his life Span.
There are certain activities with which an individual can help the environment positively. Some of them are planting Trees, water conservation, using electricity saving devices, throwing garbage in the dust bin only, controlling noise pollution, being energy efficient, replacing the existing refrigerator with a high-efficiency energy r model, unplug the cell phone charger, charging the cell phone at switch off mode to save electricity, switching the iron when the temperature is maximum, switching off the TV and other electronics when not in use, controlling the driving speed of the car since the excessive accelerator consumes more energy, follow “Go Green” by using a solar water heater instead of an electric geyser, designating a single glass to reuse for the whole day, so that the chances of rewashing is reduced, reusing the waste water after washing the close for cleaning the toilet sink, using vegetables pan for washing fruits and vegetables instead of running water from the tap etc. are some of the techniques to help the environment. The New Terms Shwetaank, Raktaank and Haritaank are discussed here .
Shwetaank (????????) : Shwetaank is an individual who does not affect the environment during his life span. As he neither contributes anything to nor does he withdraws from the Environmental Capital. Since his activities during his Life Span are Neutral and the impact which is created is nullified by the positive and negative doings. In simple words He is such a person who has not contaminated nor contributed anything to the environment. He has neither given nor taken any thing to the environmental capital. This is sometime unaccepted , as how can an individual neither gives nor takes fro the environment. Here we are talking from the Environmental capital point of view of an Individual. As the activities which are performed by an individual are such that the nature is not affected by them, hence Shwetaank is the Zero contributor to the Environmental capital.
Raktaank (???????) : Raktaank is an individual who does affect the environment during his life span. As he contributes less or nothing but he does withdrawals from the Environmental Capital. Since his activities during his Life Span are Negative and the impact of which negatively affect the environmental capital and negative doings are continued recklessly. In simple words he is such a person who has contaminated enormously and not contributed anything or less contributed to the environment. He has contribute very less to the environmental capital but rather withdrawn from the Nature’s worth. This is sometime unbearable, as we know if an individual neither contributes nor does anything positive for the environment but only takes from the environment.. Here we are talking from the Environmental capital point of view of an Individual, which gets deteriorated or affected negatively by the individual’s actions. As the activities which are performed by an individual are such that the nature is negatively affected by him, hence Raktaank is the Negative contributor to the Environmental capital.
Haritank (???????): Haritank is an individual who positively affect the environment during his life span. As he contributes more or does something additional but he does less withdrawals from the Environmental Capital. Since his activities during his life span are positive and the impact of which positively affect the environmental capital. The activities which are helping the nature in a positive manner are numerous and they are practiced by Haritaank continuously.
Thus if an individual assumes his responsibility towards the environment, and if his actions are controlled through the Rules, Regulation and Penalties, there are chances that the Raktaank will soon become Haritaank i.e. a positive Contributor towards the environment. Even though there are so many Laws, which are implemented for controlling the environmental pollution but I as a researcher believe that the Law of Nature is still Supreme above all the Human Laws. No doubt the Law plays an important role for protecting the environment, however the Self controlling is the best controlling. The Law is always supreme whether created by individuals or by the Mother Nature.
Mr. Sudhir Purohit
Jai Narain Vyas University,
C/o Dr. Ashok Kumar Bohra
21/762, Chopasni Housing Board,
Dear Sir ,
With reference to your article as a Research Scholar, on the Topic
“Green Balance Sheet: A New Approach towards the relationship between an Individual and the Environment as Shwetaank, Raktaank and Haritaank”, we are please to inform you that your paper has been selected for the purpose of publication in our Journal. The article will be published in the month of July 2015.
This is for your information.