In 1978, we adopted a new Bankruptcy Code in the United States, and a principal part of this was designed to adjust to the new corporation, to find ways to let a corporation that had gotten into financial trouble reorganize itself. A big part of the selling point on this bankruptcy law was, 'It will preserve jobs.'
Throughout the industrial era, economists considered manufactured capital - money, factories, etc. - the principal factor in industrial production, and perceived natural capital as a marginal contributor. The exclusion of natural capital from balance sheets was an understandable omission. There was so much of it, it didn't seem worth counting.