Accounting for corporate environmental rebounds. A conceptual approach

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Rebound effects exist when improvements achieved through environmental efficiency initiatives are diminished or even overcompensated, as a result of having encouraged other forms of wastefulness or inefficiency. Extant literature focuses attention on industry and national level rebounds, commonly concluding that related effects are significant. However, despite corporate level claims to comprehensive environmental management practices, less is understood about how rebounds at this level can be measured and managed. A key rebound concern is that the financial savings corporations achieve from environmental efficiency initiatives, might be spent in ways which create further (and possibly greater) environmental damage. This paper argues that adequate accounting approaches are needed to inform management about potential rebounds, and to enable pursuit of cleaner production and sustainable development. A conceptual approach is offered to enable accounting for environmental rebounds, at both the corporate and consumer level. The rebound accounting approach proposed here, offers management opportunities for continuous improvement, through mapping environmental achievements against subsequent rebounds, and documenting and measuring on-going responses to those rebounds.
Original languageEnglish
Article number138175
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 20.09.2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors