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Ecological Accountancy

2.5 ECTS Montpellier Year 2 Semester 3 Elective Humanities 15


Businesses play a central role today in the dynamics of ecosystem degradation, and are therefore increasingly called upon to contribute to their protection. How then can we improve the consideration of biodiversity issues by businesses and the involvement of businesses in the management of ecosystems? Furthermore, if conservation sciences and ecology propose a growing number of indicators and data to evaluate biodiversity in its many forms, how can this information be structured so that it can be used for strategic and collective action and dialogue between stakeholders at the ecosystem level? An approach based on ecological accounting as a management science discipline can address such issues of structuring ecological indicators and information systems to (re)organize responsibilities and accountability towards nature at the level of the firm and of the various stakeholders who interact with ecosystems.

Essentially qualitative, the course will introduce the audience to the field of social and ecological accounting and its recent developments on biodiversity. It will discuss existing proposals to use accounting to transform existing accounting systems to better take into account the value of natural capital (biodiversity, ecosystems), and thus anchor it at the heart of management processes at different levels of company management.  The course will also address innovations in ecological accounting that exist at other levels and can thus make it possible to create transformative links at different levels of socio-ecosystem governance.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Identify and compare various accounting models and tools applied to biodiversity at the business, collective management of ecosystems collective and national levels
  • Use some of the main concepts of the field of social and environmental accounting and acknowledge current controversies, to critically assess the underlying modes of reasoning of some of the proposed tools and models
  • Analyse the issues of information structuration (ecological, economic, social, etc.) for the ecological management of firms and ecosystems.
  • Be able to explain the major issues of accounting approaches at the different levels and their complementarity
  • Know how to use the “ecological contribution accounts” model to structure information for the collective management of an ecosystem.

Teaching and learning methods

The interactive lectures are punctuated by exercises of varying length that put the students in an active position:

  • reading and lively discussion of scientific articles in the field
  • a game for the comparative analysis of natural capital accounting tools and models
  • a practical exercise to mobilise ecosystem accounting approaches based on a case study.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written assignment
  • The course is assessed based on a short written exercise: the structuration of notes from a personal reflective notebook that students have to fill in after each session.


  • Location : Montpellier
  • ECTS granting : AgroParisTech
  • Organisation : AgroParisTech


Clément Feger

Clément Feger

  • AgroParisTech, Montpellier France