Danubius International Conferences, 22nd EMAN Conference. Social Responsibility and Sustainability Accounting-Key Corporate Performance Drivers and Measures

Material Flow Cost Accounting in energy intensive industries: A top-down approach to identify the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures

Milan Topic, Karin Tschiggerl
Last modified: 2018-04-05


Resource efficiency is becoming an important topic for companies around the world. Especially the energy-intensive industries attempt to increase material and energy efficiency, as those costs already account for over 45% of their total costs. However, the main challenge for companies is to find inefficiencies in the production system. Material flow accounting (MFCA) is able to support companies within this process by linking physical and financial data and showing transparency within material and energy flows and their costs. Since the standardisation of the method by ISO 14051:2011, research and application in industry has increased, nonetheless there exist still some methodological and practical gaps. For instance, for many companies the knowledge of the actual material and energy use of their processes is limited, particularly the absence of detailed data for products. This data inconsistency may lead to uncertainties within the analysis, and in the following to ineffective decisions.  On the other hand, potentials from the results of in-depth analyses, such as MFCA, are almost not used for the derivation of efficiency measures.

This paper presents a methodology to implement efficient, process-oriented and transparent energy and material monitoring in six steps. The top down approach enables the identification and transparent representation of material and energy flows in the company, and provides meaningful performance indicators. Furthermore, it offers transparent data to be used in MFCA. This valuable information can help companies to identify potential for resource efficiency and supports them in selecting the most cost-effective measures. The empirical testing to evaluate the developed methodology was completed in an Austrian foundry, where the findings will be presented in a case study.