Finding the connection: environmental management systems and environmental performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With more than 130,000 organizations worldwide certified according to ISO requirements, business people, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders have reason to wonder whether the purpose of ISO 14001, which is to help improve environmental performance, is being fulfilled. There is a growing body of literature attempting to answer this question. The results, however, are inconclusive.

This meta-study analyzes a pool of 23 studies connecting environmental performance to environmental management systems. It shows that the reason that earlier studies arrived at mixed conclusions is twofold. Firstly, there is no agreement on what environmental performance is or how to measure it. Secondly, there is neither clarity nor agreement about how or why environmental management systems are expected to aid performance. It is therefore unclear whether the mechanisms that lead to improvement are expected to be the same for all companies or dependent on each implementation.

The authors conclude that it is more fruitful to research how environmental management systems affect performance, rather than whether they do so or not. The recommended starting point for such studies is environmental performance as each organization defines it. This in turn implies a case by case approach and a need for much more research in the field.

Details

Authors
  • Dagmara Nawrocka
  • Thomas Parker
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • Environmental management systems, ISO 14001, Environmental performance, EMS, Environmental performance measurement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-607
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Related research output

Nawrocka, D., 2009, The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics. 121 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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