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Developing an environmental management accounting framework for the waste management sustainability of municipalities in Gauteng.

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Municipalities through local government play a significant role of solid waste management, among other roles. This is important to avoid emergence of negative waste-related environmental impacts. However, this is true for municipalities in Gauteng. Improper municipal solid waste management is leading to negative environmental and social impacts on communities such as rising pollution, emissions, blocked drains and related diseases. From an accounting standpoint, the traditional management accounting system is incapable of handling the environmental concerns hence environmental management accounting (EMA) was developed to overcome these limitations. Therefore, EMA is a new research area particularly in the local government. The primary aim of this study is to develop an EMA framework for the waste management sustainability of the municipalities in Gauteng. This is done by initially understanding how EMA can be used to improve waste management in the municipalities. More specifically, the study through secondary objectives aims: (1) to identify the nature of information used to report waste management issues, (2) to explore the current EMA practices used to improve waste management and (3) to examine the benefits of adopting the EMA practices. The study utilised a qualitative approach based on a constructivist grounded theory research design. Data was collected through documentary analysis. Using a purposive sampling, annual reports of five municipalities spanning 2015 to 2021 were used to achieve theoretical saturation. The overall findings show that EMA practices such as waste management system, environmental audits and employee environmental training are presently used to improve waste management. In addition, the results indicate that non-monetary environmental information is mostly used to report waste management issues in municipalities in Gauteng. This shows inefficiency in collecting of monetary information. Applying EMA practices in the municipalities has led to environmental benefits such as reduction in contribution to climate change, improvement in environmental performance and compliance with national legislation. Based on the findings, the study recommends that a national or provincial waste information database be developed, including definition and classification of different kinds of waste to overcome the limitation of absence of monetary waste management data in municipalities.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.