ISO 14053 - Environmental management – Material flow cost accounting — Guidance for phased implementation in organizations

The development on ISO 14053 was approved in October 2017. This standard is due to be completed in January 2021.

Why is this standard being developed and what is the link to Sustainable Development Goals?

Sustainable use of resources is becoming an increasingly important issue globally. The use of resources is already exceeding the earth’s capacity and the demand is steadily increasing. Consequently, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set out by the United Nations in 2015 has become a high priority for society. Especially, Goal 12 requires governments as well as private sectors to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Companies of any size need to achieve improvements in material and energy efficiency for sustainable production. To achieve SDGs Goal 12, material flow cost accounting (MFCA) is an effective environmental management accounting tool that provides organisations with environmental and economic information on their activity. In particular, ISO 14053, one of the MFCA’s international standard under development, provides practical guidance for MFCA’s phased implementation so that organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can adopt to understand and enhance their environmental and economic performances through their improvements in material and energy efficiency.

Especially, according to UNIDO, SMEs make up more than 90% of businesses worldwide and on average account for 50% of GDP and 60% of employment. In this regard, the SME sector plays an important role in economies worldwide. Also, in case of efforts to enhance a supply-chain wide material efficiency by the large-sized organisations, final assembly manufacturers often do not generate a significant material loss as they usually only assemble parts; SMEs that typically belong to the supply chain for production can play a key role in the supply chain; those SMEs are one of the main targets for the standard.

Expected benefit from the standard

MFCA provides an internal (e.g., cost reduction) and external benefits (higher material/energy efficiency), simultaneously; this encourages any organisations to be engaged in environmental management activities (e.g., ISO 14001).

ISO 14053 provides a detailed guidance for phased implementation of MFCA that organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can adopt to enhance their environmental performance and material.


A series of international standards provide guidance on material flow cost accounting (MFCA) –ISO 14051(Environmental management — Material flow cost accounting — General framework) and ISO 14052 (Environmental management —Material flow cost accounting —Guidance for practical implementation in a supply chain). While organizations are encouraged to implement MFCA based on ISO 14051, depending on level of operations, they may prefer more simplified approach for MFCA. In this regard, ISO 14053 provides guidance for organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to initiate a phased implementation of MFCA. 

Scope of the Standard

This standard provides practical guidance for a phased implementation of MFCA that organizations, including SMEs, can adopt to enhance their environmental performance and material efficiency.

The phased approach provides flexibility that allows organizations to develop their MFCA activities at their own pace, according to their own circumstances. The resulting information can act as a baseline for organizations to seek opportunities to simultaneously generate financial and environmental benefits by reducing material losses and energy consumption.

This standard is applicable to any organization regardless of their current environmental performance, the nature of activities undertaken or the locations at which these activities occur.

This standard provides basic calculation procedures to analyse saving potentials by avoiding material losses. Detailed calculation procedures or information on techniques for improving material or energy efficiency are out of the scope of this Standard.