Frequently Asked Questions

Access to and a basic knowledge of spreadsheet software (e.g., Excel, Google sheets) is required to use the worksheets. For those who have used spreadsheet software but are not very comfortable with it, it may be useful to review how to use the SUM function, how to write basic addition and division formulas, how to copy and paste information, and how to link information between cells. Some basic math skills are also helpful for understanding the results of the analysis in Step 5. For those who do not have recent experience with calculating total cost, average cost, net income, or rate of return, it may be useful to review chapter 2 of the User’s Guide.

The Green Value tool is set up so that one set of worksheets is to be completed for one productive period, such as one trimester, one semester, one harvest season (which may be a few weeks or many months), or one year. For analysis of a longer time period (e.g., 20 years) that includes multiple productive periods, users can enter the total cost and total income for each productive period into the Net Present Value (NPV) worksheet available in Edition 3 (published in mid 2017). The NPV worksheet allows users to see how costs and income varied over time, as well as to calculate the net present value of the production and sale of the product or service.

Edition 3 of the Green Value financial analysis tool has a version developed to be able to monitor and analyze the costs and income of up to three different products, such as timber, Brazil nuts, and acai fruits. The summary worksheet presents financial indicators of each product or service, as well as for the productive system as a whole. If users want to analyze products that are the result of the same productive activities, then the Summary worksheet can be modified to calculate the cost of raw material, for example the production of logs, as well as a primary product, such as boards.

The Green Value tool is primarily to help with decision-making, it is not an accounting tool. The recommendations for organizing cost information and for depreciating machinery and equipment will vary from accounting guidelines. However, it is recommended that users look at how the accounting system and/or the Green Value worksheets can be modified to make using the same information in both systems easier.

The authors like the flexibility that leaving the Green Value tool in spreadsheet software provides users. The two main advantages of this are: (1) the worksheets can be modified by users to work better for specific initiatives; and (2) users can click on a cell to see or modify formulas or links as needed.

The Green Value tool is for financial analysis. Economic analyses often include positive and negative externalities, and non-market values, and usually takes into account opportunity costs related to other productive activities.