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Externalities Working Group

ASBC’s Externalities Working Group helps make the business case why it matters to society when the costs and benefits associated with a business activity are not accounted for by the companies responsible for generating them. Such business advantages and activities range from receiving government subsidies and tax credits that reduce competition and distort the proper functioning of markets, to industrial pollution that has environmental and social consequences.

The Externalities Working Group helps educate policymakers and the media as well as other ASBC working groups about the distortions and consequences associated with hidden externalities. In addition, the Externalities Working Group highlights how well-crafted public policies can ensure that companies that externalize the costs or the benefits to others (or the environment) actually bear the costs or gain the benefits for which they are responsible. The goal is to have both the externalized costs and benefits become “internalized” into the balance sheets and operating strategies of the companies that generate them.

The Externalities Working Group:

  • provides thought leadership to help move full cost accounting from the edges of current discussions to adopting public policies that fully account for subsidies, tax incentives, monopolies, lack of transparency, etc., that create business winners and losers as well as negative environmental and social impacts;
  • highlights the regulatory, accounting, and other non-regulatory systems that some businesses and governments now use that reduce externalities and internalize hidden direct and indirect costs;
  • authors op-eds, blog posts and white papers on the impact of externalities and need for reform;
  • educates federal and state officials on the need for reform, the existence of alternatives and how government can reduce externalities and use full cost accounting.

The Externalities Working Group meets every two months and periodically organizes seminars and other programs. The Externalities Working Group also meets with elected officials, regulators, and public opinion-makers.

Read our new report on Externalities, authored by members Rob Lederer (Management Resources, Inc.) and Richard Lawton (Triple Ethos), describing how conventional accounting methods fail to reflect the true costs of business activity on the environment and society and how policymakers need to understand this.

To become involved, contact:

*Rob Lederer, Externalities Working Group Co-Chair and President/Founder of Management Resources

*Richard Eidlin, ASBC Vice President of Policy