The purpose of environmental accounts is to describe these forms of interactions between society and the environment, i.e. environmental pressures, environmental protection measures and the environmental services from which society benefits through the use of environmental assets.
Environmental accounts are thus an extension of the system of national accounts (SNA), to which they introduce environmentally relevant factors.
As so-called “integrated accounts” they largely follow the pattern and rules of the system of national accounts, so as to ensure that the data from both calculations are compatible.
By including the environment in this way, namely in the form of physical and monetary data, as a relevant factor of the economy, environmental accounts contain a higher level of information than systems of national accounts alone. They provide important basic data for environmental policy discussions and decisions and, together with the systems of national accounts, they give a full picture of the interactions between society and the environment.