Material flow cost accounting: a review and agenda for future research

Katherine L. Christ, Roger L. Burritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Recent times have seen the business world challenged to improve efficiency by reducing its material and energy usage. Material flow cost accounting has been suggested as a management tool that can assist and a new international environmental management accounting standard, ISO 14051, has emerged for consideration by business. This paper presents a review of extant MFCA literature, the purpose being to develop a research agenda which will provide a foundation for future development of the material flow cost accounting tool. Concerns are raised about the absence of theorising behind material flow cost accounting; the lack of knowledge and application of the tool in practice; the need for survey, interview and statistical research methods to supplement case studies; lack of systematic evidence of the tool's applicability beyond manufacturing and in different firm sizes; and complementarity with other accounting tools used to improve performance. An agenda identifying promising avenues for research, the scope of application within companies and broadening of methods for investigation is then outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberB
Pages (from-to)1378-1389
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Material flow cost accounting
  • MFCA
  • Research agenda
  • ISO 14051
  • Environmental management accounting
  • Review


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