The effects of corporate activity on the ecological environment require increased attention in corporate planning and decision-making processes. Management support is increasingly discussed under the (largely synonymously used) keywords “environmental controlling”, “eco-controlling” or “ecological controlling”.
Controlling wird zum einen mit Bezug zum unternehmerischen Rentabilitäts- und -Risk management in seiner „inhaltlichen“ Dimension, kennzeichenbar auch als „Zieldimension“, definiert, zum anderen mit Bezug auf das unternehmerische Informations- und Kommunikationsmanagement in seiner „formalen“, besser „instrumentellen Dimension“. In seiner Zieldimension ist Controlling weitgehend global und langfristig angelegt. Es weist damit starke Überschneidung zur Strategischen Unternehmensplanung auf. I.d.S. beinhaltet Umweltschutz-Controlling:
- Detecting, developing and maintaining current and / or future potential for success as well as
- the detection, reduction and avoidance of current and / or future potential dangers. In terms of portfolio management, the first category looks for business areas in which environmental protection-related arguments are used
- market share advantages
- Market growth advantages as well as actual corporate goals
- Profit and profitability advantages are to be achieved or secured
Letztere Kategorie hingegen spricht das Risiko- und Crisis management des Unternehmens an. Hier geht es insb. darum, durch langfristig vorbeugendes Denken und Handeln Veränderungen in den ökologischen Rahmenbedingungen des Unternehmens aufzuspüren und sich darauf einzustellen. Umweltschutz-Controlling wird dort zum Zeichengeber, besser gesagt zur zentralen unternehmerischen Informationsinstanz. Dies betrifft dann nicht mehr nur die Zieldimension, sondern insb. die instrumentelle Dimension des Umweltschutz-Controlling.
Controlling in the modern sense characterizes a cross-sectional function across the various corporate divisions. This perspective is reinforced with a view to environmental controlling. Because if you fix the environmental problems of entrepreneurial activity specifically to the operational material flow, then there can no longer be a restriction to a single functional area (e.g. procurement, production or sales). Rather, environmental protection controlling has to refer to all functional areas simultaneously. And when looking at material flows in inter-company value chains and cycles, controlling also has an inter-company role.
The central task of environmental protection controlling is then to support the company management to ensure their ability to coordinate all kinds of ecological aspects.
Just like any other corporate area, controlling has the strict primacy of referring to calculable quantities. Only in this way can profit and profitability contributions - including those of controlling and environmental protection controlling itself - really be determined and controlled. This raises the question of the relevant accounting system:
Most of the concepts initially offered to make the ecological environmental impact of corporate activities calculable were a little in the air from a business point of view. On the one hand, they were less related to entrepreneurial decision-making situations, but mostly aimed at satisfying the information interests of outsiders. This was especially true for most of the presented approaches of ecological accounting, ecological balances, material and energy balances or social and environmental balances. On the other hand, due to the lack of adequate economic evaluations or evaluations, these approaches mostly had the character of mere (even if in some cases remarkably more detailed) records, but less of arithmetic units relevant to decision-making.
In order to fulfill its tasks, however, the environmental protection controlling needs a convincing computing system, which provides the necessary support of the company management to ensure its coordination ability related to ecological aspects, less externally than internally. On the one hand, this system has to be so flexible in structure and content that it can be used for decision-making and action cases of the most varied of types, as they typically shape the environmental relationship of companies, and on the other hand, it is dominated by those environment-related internal and external variables record that open up to entrepreneurial calculability. Approaches that point in this direction are thematized in the more recent literature, especially under the term environmental cost accounting.
In the conceptual and content-related overall view, a trend has been recognizable for some time, under the "umbrella" of environmental protection controlling as an environmental-economic coordination concept, the approaches of eco-balances, material and energy balances, social and environmental balances, etc., primarily for systematic penetration To make the quantity and quality structure of company-relevant environmental phenomena usable, but to apply the approaches of environmental cost accounting in addition to the microeconomic evaluation of these quantities and qualities.
In order to fulfill these purposes, internal and external environmental information systems are increasingly coming to the fore of practical and scientific interest, on the one hand for the IT-supported information supply of the individual bills, on the other hand and last but not least for the information link between these different bills. It is precisely such environmental information systems - also as environment-related strategy support systems - that are becoming the essential tools of environmental protection controlling.