Business Strategy and the Environment

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1099-0836
Publications
Article
While both fundamental types of abatement measures mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of production, cleaner production technologies are frequently more advantageous than end-of-pipe technologies for environmental and economic reasons. This paper analyzes a variety of factors that might enhance firms’ propensity to implement cleaner products and production technologies instead of end-of-pipe technologies. On the basis of a unique facility-level data set derived from a recent OECD survey, we find a clear dominance of cleaner production in seven OECD countries: Surprisingly, 76.8% of the facilities report that they invest predominantly in cleaner production technologies. With regard to environmental product innovations, the large majority of facilities reports that the measures they have undertaken to reduce environmental impacts were geared at production processes and not so much at products. Our estimation results are based on multinomial logit models which indicate that regulatory measures and the stringency of environmental policies are positively correlated with end-of-pipe technologies, while cost savings, general management systems, and specific environmental management tools tend to favor clean production. We conclude that improvements towards cleaner products and production may be reached by the continuous development and wider diffusion of these management tools. Improvements may also be stimulated by widening the cost gap between the two types of technologies, for instance, by additionally charging for waste and energy use.
 
Article
A trend towards softer regulation, especially in the form of negotiated environmental agreements, is observable in national and international environmental policies. Such agreements are controversial, because there are fears that government will relinquish its responsibility for environmental protection. This paper analyses recent experiences with voluntary agreements in Germany. Topical German examples that have prompted public debates include the takeback agreement for cars, the voluntary agreement made by a number of industries on a C02 reduction by the year 2005 and the voluntary agreement made by the automobile industry on the development of energy-efficient cars. Proponents of voluntary agreements argue that this instrument provides incentives to the business sector for the development of efficient, innovative and environmentally-friendly solutions. Analysing the examples mentioned above, we conclude that it is hard to detect solutions derserving such attributes. These agreements are unlikely to produce results that go beyond what industry would have done in any case and they avoid using economic incentives. The agreements are' non-binding and unenforceable, with the negotiating process leading to a watering down of the environmental goals government had originally aimed at. A preference for negotiated solutions on principle, as currently espoused by the Federal Government in Germany, seems to be counterproductive. If the government clearly signals its willingness to refrain from using regulatory or economic instruments in favour of industry agreements, it weakens its negotiating position. The government also limits its options should the implementation of the agreement prove unsatisfactory. Government needs to be �in control in order to leave its choice of policy instruments open and to be flexible. In a last step, we derive some general conclusions concerning reasonable strategies and applications of voluntary agreements within the European Union. --
 
Article
The study assesses net employment effects of technical progress which can be expected by the ongoing transition from end-of-pipe technologies towards cleaner production. Empirical evidence is presented on the basis of case studies and panel data including a telephone survey in German industry. The main result ist that cleaner production leads in more firms to a net creation of jobs than end-of-pipe technologies. However, eco-innovations like other innovations tend to require higher qualification. Thus, the demand for skilled and high-skilled labour rises while the demand for unskilled labour decreases. The results imply that supporting cleaner production is not in conflict with labour market policy. Synergies are identified, they are however small and specific. Thus, technology policy in general and supporting cleaner pro-duction in particular can not be expected to give substantial contributions to the solution of mass unemployment in Germany without using additional instruments (e.g. concerning a reduction of labour costs, increasing flexibility of labour markets).
 
Article
This essay provides an overview of the 11th International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network held in San Francisco, USA, on 12–15 October 2003. The conference gave Greening of Industry Network (GIN) members the opportunity to debate issues around the theme of Innovating for Sustainability in a location central to technological innovation in the United States. This special issue of Business Strategy and the Environment focuses on the diverse interpretations of innovation and their impacts on the different strands of sustainability. The conference was timely in its debates about the nature of innovation from system level to product level, and from technological innovation to innovations in the management of a wide range of stakeholders and the resulting impacts on environmental, economic, social and ethical sustainability. This essay briefly discusses the relationship between innovation and sustainability, and considers the factors that either facilitate progress towards a more sustainable future, or present barriers to achieving sustainability. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Function-oriented business models or product–service systems (PSSs) are often seen as an excellent means for achieving ‘factor 4’. SusProNet, an EU network on PSSs, showed a more complicated reality. At least eight different types of PSS exist, with quite diverging economic and environmental characteristics. The economic potential of each type was evaluated in terms of (i) tangible and intangible value for the user, (ii) tangible costs and risk premium for the provider, (iii) capital/investment needs and (iv) issues such as the providers' position in the value chain and client relations. The environmental potential was evaluated by checking the relevance of certain impact reduction mechanisms (e.g. more intensive use of capital goods, inherent incentives for sustainable user and provider behaviour etc.). Most PSS types will result in marginal environmental improvements at best. The exception is the PSS type known as functional results, but here liability and risk premium issues, amongst others, need a solution. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Technological change has a relevant role to play in the transition towards a sustainable industry. However, slow diffusion of clean technologies can be observed in OECD countries. The analysis of the determinants and barriers to clean technology adoption should be a main goal of economists and social scientists. This paper shows that three sets of interrelated factors prevent but also stimulate the widespread adoption and diffusion of clean technology: these are factors external and internal to the firm, conditions of the potential adopters and characteristics of the environmental technology. These factors are included in the so-called ‘triangular model’, which is further applied to the analysis of clean technology adoption in the pulp and paper industry in Spain. The empirical study shows that clean technology adoption decisions are the result of an interaction between these factors, often involving contradictory signals for the potential adopter. The paper closes with some public policy recommendations for the effective and efficient promotion of clean technology diffusion. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Many developing country small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are exporters see themselves facing a dilemma. They do not know how to respond to the rising social and environmental requirements of global buyers and supply chains and fear that were they to do so they would lose their competitive edge. However, they are aware that if they do not meet these requirements, they will not be able to access new foreign markets and may lose the contracts they already have. To investigate whether practical methods exist for resolving this dilemma, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) carried out a one year project with 22 SMEs in four Asian countries. The results suggest that well targeted, enterprise-specific efforts to meet corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements can make a positive contribution to both short-term profitability and longer-term competitiveness. The ‘business case’ for CSR appears strongest in the environmental area, but measures in that area can act as a ‘starter motor’ for tackling more systemic ‘social’ problems. Furthermore, tackling social issues at the workplace can feed back positively to improve the sustainability of the environmental improvement measures. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Business is totally dependent on society although we sometimes do not experience it that way. All business, even in their most limited form, confront environmental issues, some more than others. Business leaders will be actively addressing social and environmental issues. These companies will be going for certification to ISO 14001 (EMS) and progressive organizations have moved beyond EMS requirement, seizing control of environmental operations through Total Quality Environmental Management (TQEM). Industry leaders are incorporating environmental thinking into every aspect of their operations. As a long-range plan towards TQEM, an organization can have a road map and a clear model for achieving excellence in the area of Environmental Management. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
 
Article
Formally adopted in 1996 by the International Organization of Standardization, ISO 14001 represents a voluntary international environmental standard, which will likely be adopted by a vast majority of corporations. Its major focus is on the structure, implementation and maintenance of a formal environmental management system. Despite its international acceptance, ISO 14001 is surrounded by controversy and criticism. The literature is clearly divided in its assessment of ISO 14001, which is viewed as a variant of total quality environmental management or a paper-driven process of limited value. In this study, case-based research is used to address the competing views of the standard to show that ISO 14001 registration can be leveraged across the supply chain into a competitive advantage. By looking at ISO 14001 registered firms, we compare different amounts of integration and sustainability in the supply chain. We then posit several research propositions to provide an empirical framework for the impacts of ISO 14001 on supply chain design and how it will evolve in the future. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Theoretical as well as empirical evidence regarding the influence of institutional ownership on corporate environmental strategy not only is inconclusive but also reflects experience from either the Anglo-American context or other developed countries. The underlying assumption of most of this literature is that institutional shareholders are always ‘active’ or ‘passive’ in their actions towards corporate environmental strategy. However, this study argues that this relationship might be moderated by various motivations such as legitimizing existence and operations, conforming with industry norms or lessening managerial entrenchment. Econometric analysis, using a sample of Egyptian firms, as hypothesized, demonstrated that institutional ownership exerted positive and significant effects on a corporation's tendency to adopt environmental management standards only when financial resources are available and investment opportunities are limited. A possible explanation of this finding is that Egyptian institutional investors are more likely to use corporate environmental responsibility to offset their inability to confront managerial discretionary power. An implication of this finding is that not only will different types of stakeholder ask for different levels of social and environmental responsibility, but also the same type of stakeholder may ask for different levels of social and environmental responsibility in different contexts. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Environmental policy in the UK has tended to reflect orthodox textbook responses, focusing upon standard setting and taxation, both impacting upon the supply side of the economy. In addition, economic agents have the option of legal recourse to settle environmental disputes. Complementing this command and control framework is a growing tendency for firms to subscribe to additional voluntary environmental standards by, for example, registering with an appropriate agency, thereby signalling to others that they have adopted a particular scheme. This growing trend has far reaching consequences for future policy decisions and for financial and environmental performance of the firms.We aim here to identify the attributes of many firms which participate in ISO 14001. We use a probit model to determine, from a vector of firm and industry characteristics at one point in time, what factors influence the probability of firms registering with ISO 14001. We then utilize survival analysis to analyse how these characteristics impact upon the ‘hazard’ of accreditation over time. If significant differences exist between 14001 firms and others, important questions arise for academics and practitioners alike. Are certain types of firm hindered by their firm characteristics? Does the scheme favour larger firms over smaller firms, or high tech firms over low tech? Why do some industries have many accreditations whilst others have none? The analysis of such issues is not only an under-developed area of academic debate, but also of direct relevance to practitioners within the field of environmental management and policy. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
 
Article
Institutional theories and resource-based views have suggested that, although they appear similar externally, standardized management systems may be implemented very differently in different organizations. This variability in implementation may be responsible for the heterogeneous performance of these standardized management systems. The current literature on the environmental impacts of ISO 14001 certification has largely neglected this phenomenon. Drawing on our survey of all US 14001 certificate holders, this study finds that great variability does exist in facilities' implementation of ISO 14001 standards. This heterogeneity has a significant impact on the linkage between ISO 14001 certification and facilities' environmental performance. In particular, we find that facilities that integrate ISO 14001 standards into their daily operations are more likely to report improvements in environmental performance. Environmental improvements are also more likely to occur in facilities that include performance management elements in their ISO 14001 standards. Furthermore, both types of facility are more likely to report that ISO certification contributes to this improvement. Neglecting the heterogeneity in facilities' implementation of ISO 14001 standards may explain the instability of findings from the empirical literature investigating the impacts of ISO 14001 certification. Theoretically, this paper informs the understanding of heterogeneous organizational behavior under isomorphic pressures. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Adoption of ISO 14001 in Japan
Logistic results, industry comparison
Logistic results, comparison of adopters, in-process adopters and nonadopters
Greening activity and ISO status, descriptive statistics and difference of means
Article
This paper seeks to understand what factors contribute to voluntary adoption of the ISO 14001 environmental management system by private sector facilities in Japan. A model based on regulatory, competitiveness, social responsibility and organization theory is applied to 1999 survey data. Analysis shows systematically different factors to be important indicators of voluntarism in different industries and for facilities at different stages of certification. First adopters and second adopters appear to be fundamentally different types of organizations driven by different internal and external factors. Although results do not indicate a clear causal linkage between ISO adoption and greening activity, evidence shows that at least two different stages of adoption have taken place in Japan and that ISO adoption is associated with environmental action. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment
 
Article
More than 60000 organizations worldwide have implemented environmental management systems (EMSs). About 800 of them are located in Austria. As Austria was one of the leading countries in promoting the EU scheme EMAS, and as there has been no specific study on Austrian experiences with ISO 14001, the purpose of this study is to describe the experiences with and effects of ISO 14001 in Austria. The results show that ISO 14001 often leads to reduced environmental impact, especially in the area of waste. A strong driving force behind implementation is the expected improvement of an organization's image. The average repayment time on an investment in an EMS is less than two years. Legal compliance tends to be difficult to implement, but on the other hand it works well in daily practice. To develop an EMS into a sustainability management system, the two most important challenges are to improve coordination between the EMS and the organization's strategies and to synchronize the EMS with central value chains. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
I draw upon the dynamic capability model to explore how new process standards influence the ability of manufacturing facilities to improve environmental performance by reducing toxic emissions. The process standards studied are the ISO 14001 environmental management standards, in use since 1996. Hypotheses are developed to account for how early adoption of ISO 14001 and experience with the standards influence emission levels. These hypotheses are tested using a large sample of electronics manufacturing facilities and data from 1996 through 2001. Consistent with theoretical expectations, analyses show that being one of the first facilities to adopt ISO 14001 was associated with lower emissions. Further, a separate effect is due to experience: the longer a facility operated under ISO 14001, the lower its emissions. The paper discusses the implications of these results for theory and policy development. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Building on Hart's natural resource-based view of the firm, this paper reports the results of a case study of the privately owned, high-end outdoor apparel company Patagonia. In this study we examined Hart's three interlinking strategies of pollution prevention, product stewardship and sustainable development, and sought to test whether the resources for their implementation must be accumulated sequentially or whether they can be accumulated in parallel. The case study revealed that Patagonia has made significant progress, and continues to make progress, in each of these three areas. The results also suggested that the company's progress in one area has not necessarily been dependent on progress in another. While acknowledging the limitations of a single case study, we conclude that Patagonia's experience offers strong support for the notion that the resources for implementing strategies towards sustainable development can be accumulated in parallel – as opposed to sequentially. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
The mechanisms are examined by which environmentally informed business practices and technologies may diffuse through industry as a result of the ‘greening’ of purchasing and supply. The efforts of official bodies in the UK to raise environmental awareness among industrial purchasers are reviewed. It is then argued that the supply chain model is an important way of interpreting the industrial landscape from a green perspective and that it is in some ways a more hopeful and positive starting point for achieving industrial transformation. The results of an analysis of some UK companies practices in using their purchasing policies to ‘green’ their supply chains are presented and opportunities for further research indicated.
 
Article
Cooperative interorganizational relationships are seen by many as indispensable vehicles for accessing external knowledge and accumulating capabilities. Surprisingly, the question of whether companies can also build capabilities through adversarial relationships has received little attention. This paper reports a study of the learning–action network of a major Anglo-Dutch food and personal care company. The firm's present relationships with consumer representatives and environmental activists are strongly adversarial, due to the recent introduction of genetically modified ingredients. The study shows that companies can still build capabilities in a hostile environment, but that adversity influences capability building processes as well as capability content. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
The purpose of this article is to analyse in what way a conflict in the early 20th century (1904–1911) over a Swedish pulp mill's emissions into air and water impacted on the technology choices and strategies of the mill. The article also analyses what characterized the company's other responses to the complaints, in the form of counter-arguments, as well as engagement of experts. The access to information about the deliberations at the mill's board meetings is very rare in historical studies of company behaviour in relation to the environment, and provides us with a unique opportunity to comprehend in what way business strategies were developed during the course of the conflict. Technology choices are often characterized by the search for knowledge that enables a company to employ existing but not yet developed technical potentials, rather than choices between known technical solutions. We emphasize that this is particularly evident in a case where a company is forced to alter its technology in order to solve previously unknown environmental problems. In spite of a persistent search, the mill did not find any ready-made technological solutions to the environmental problems faced and was therefore forced to engage scientific expertise and even initiate basic scientific research. In 1911, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ordered the mill to undertake a number of pollution abatement investments. Interestingly – and partly in line with the so-called Porter hypothesis – the long-run economics of these investments turned out to be more favourable than anticipated prior to the verdict. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This essay provides an overview of the Ninth International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 21–25 January 2001. For the first time in its ten-year history, the Greening of Industry Network (GIN) gathered outside Western Europe and North America, with the theme Sustainability at the Millennium: Globalization, Competitiveness and the Public Trust. To highlight this important event, this special issue of Business Strategy and the Environment will place special emphasis on the Asian region, particularly on the issues confronting the economically less advanced countries.The overarching theme of the conference as well as many of the papers and discussion at the conference was globalization and sustainable development, and the relationship between these two issues. There was a rich if not a divergent perspective on what the relationship implies for the different Asian economies as well as for economically less advanced countries in general.After examining the relationship between sustainable development and globalization in the Asian context, this essay will discuss two themes with important implications for sustainable commerce: stakeholders and civil society and industrial competitiveness and transformation. The essay will conclude with some thoughts on the path that globalization has taken since the terrorist attack in the US on 11 September 2001 and on the 10 year anniversary of the Greening of Industry Network. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment
 
Article
Until relatively recently the majority of large publicly listed UK companies have not produced annual environmental reports. Of particular note is the slow take-up of environmental reporting amongst the UK's top 350 companies, the FTSE 350. Using the results of a postal questionnaire, the reluctance of a majority of the FTSE 350 to voluntarily report is linked to 13 drawbacks. Results from non-reporting respondents to the questionnaire allowed the relative importance of these drawbacks to be placed in a ranked order. Senior management doubt over the advantages of reporting was shown to be the most important drawback, closely followed by the effort required for data collection. A comparison in the uptake of corporate environmental management practices (other than reporting) was also made amongst reporters and non-reporters. Reporters were shown to have a generally higher level of uptake, although company sector type and size was influential on environmental engagement overall. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This paper examines the correlation between the excess stock market returns and the adoption of an environmental protocol by companies. The underlying hypothesis that I test is whether evidence of the adoption of environmental policy, prosecution by an environmental agency or the routinized training of staff in environmental protocols, which proxies for the willingness of managers to invest for the long term, is associated with superior economic returns to shareholders. I find that both the adoption of an environmental policy and prosecution for breach of environment standards have significant explanatory power in an analysis of excess returns. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment
 
Article
Whether or not it pays to be green or under what circumstances is an important ongoing debate among economic researchers. However, this question, with its rather instrumental rationality, may underestimate another key issue: the ability of companies to create value that can be captured from customers. This paper reports on three companies in the automotive industry developing and launching cars with improved eco-environmental performance and less petrol consumption. The study reveals that, despite being captured in the same technological paradigm, the individual company's mode of environmental interpretation and its aspiration to exploit new technology may be two important explanatory factors in its ability to go green profitably. The study indicates that an enacting mode of environmental interpretation may be superior to a discovering mode, and suggests that for companies having a discovering mode there may be a need to complement existing engineering practice with insights into consumer psychology, and bundling of common good versus private good product attributes. The research upon which this paper is based was conducted using an insider/outsider approach in studying the three companies. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This paper strives for a conceptualization of sustainability, design and contemporary consumption. By sketching out how effective production systems have created an abundance of products, the paper links this development to the aestheticization of society and an increased interest in design. In market economies characterized by profusion, corporations engage in activities filling their offerings with aura, aesthetics, symbols and meaning. In such lands of plenty, conspicuous consumption becomes a thoroughly expressive activity and highly problematic for actors with ambitions to design a sustainable future. Our conclusion is that sustainability must ultimately be seen as intertwined with social processes such as fashion, identity and identity construction. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This paper describes the introduction of ‘ustainability’ as a novel strategic paradigm to senior executive learning. Specifically, we describe the Sustainable Enterprise Academy, an executive education initiative founded by the Schulich School of Business at York University (Canada) with the active support of a number of academic collaborators, five corporations and several business and civil society organizations. The Academy is dedicated to business transformation through the application of a strategic sustainability paradigm, which assumes the desirability of business simultaneously creating economic, social and environmental value. The paper recounts the Academy's journey between 1999 and 2003, during which time five successful senior executive Business Leader Seminars were held – four in Canada and one in the US. Evaluation data from participants are presented and lessons learned described. The paper also explores future avenues of development for the Academy. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This paper explores the development of the corporate web site as a medium for sustainability reporting. Drawing upon survey data of corporate web sites in Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom and the experiences of six companies, it seeks to identify how issues of accessibility and functionality of the web site affect web based sustainability reporting. The study highlights the diversity of approaches to sustainability reporting on the internet and identifies a number of hurdles faced by managers responsible for sustainability reporting. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Recent years have seen a rapid increase in accountability pressures on particularly large global companies. The increased call for transparency comes from two different angles, which show some (potential) convergence in terms of topics and audiences: accountability requirements in the context of corporate governance, which expand to staff-related, ethical aspects; and sustainability reporting that has broadened from environment only to social and financial issues. This article examines to what extent and how current sustainability reporting of Fortune Global 250 companies incorporates corporate governance aspects. Many multinationals, particularly in Europe and Japan, have started to pay attention to board supervision and structuring of sustainability responsibilities, to compliance, ethics and external verification. While detailed disclosures are not yet common, some notable practices can be found. Underlying dilemmas and complexities for managers in dealing with accountability to shareholders and stakeholders, and the role of auditors, are indicated. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
 
Article
This article compares how food retail industries in Britain and the United States are facing sustainability challenges. The British and US industries are in different stages of maturity in identifying and responding to sustainability. Some UK retailers have begun developing broad-based accountability systems that may aid them to see sustainability in their business operations. By examining what retailers are doing, how accountability systems can inform retailers and the business case for accountability, this article argues that retailers can gain significant business advantages with strategies to improve accountability. Compared with their American counterparts, British retailers may be better placed to deal with sustainability issues in future. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
The concept of stakeholder accountability and management is increasingly an integral facet of business strategy. This is particularly evident for companies which have a significant environmental impact, be it real or perceived, where public scrutiny of environmental performance is facilitated through heightened press coverage. Effective stakeholder management therefore necessitates an active response to the media's attention in order to manage the public perception of business activities. This article presents data on the exponential growth in both the total number and the proportion of news articles over the past fifteen years which have associated a large forestry company in Western Canada with environmentalist issues. More detailed analyses of these articles illustrate how environmentalist sub-issues can be identified and whether the voice is either that of the corporation or the environmentalist movement. Implications of these findings for the management of environmentalist publics is discussed.
 
Article
The social responsibility debates of the last thirty years have resolved little and have had only peripheral effects on traditional business behaviour. Social responsibility issues are re-emerging in the light of the environmental crisis and are far too important to be once again marginalised by traditional business thinking. Economic and environmental criteria will, increasingly, be in conflict and accountants - like all business professionals - are implicated in this, not least because it is accounting that defines the rules, keeps the score, announces the results and determines who shall see them. The paper attempts to re-examine social responsibility and accountability in the light of the re-emerging environmental concern and suggests some ways in which accounting might contribute towards an organisation's attempts to become less unsustainable.
 
Article
This paper explores the role of accounting and the accountant in the Environmental Management System (EMS). This study was founded on a postal survey of chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) from the top 500 listed Australian companies. From responses to the surveys, this paper firstly documents the adoption of environmental accounting processes by respondent companies and secondly management attitudes as to the role of environmental accounting in these companies. The senior executives responding to the survey suggest that they believe the environment is an important issue, and recognize the need for a business response. However, there appeared to be limited participation of the accountant in the EMS, which suggests there is a gap between the aggregate observations of this sample and literature support with respect to the role of environmental accounting. It is suggested that this might reflect a lack of understanding of the potential role accounting and the accountant could (and arguably should) play as a member of the EMS team. It is the intention of this paper to provide some input to enhance an understanding of the potential and important role accounting and the accountant could play in the EMS. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment
 
Article
Forum for the Future worked in partnership with a division of a blue-chip chemicals company (‘ChemCo’), to develop a framework for sustainable business decision-making. The supply chain impact framework was used to produce a six-stage analysis that allowed the assessment of ChemCo's operations and products on key stakeholders and contributed to key strategy setting and innovation processes. Of most significance to ChemCo were the final two sustainability accounting stages of this work, which found that the external environmental benefits of one of its products in use (a refrigerant lubricant) were eight times greater than the external environmental costs produced by the entirety of ChemCo's operations. These findings helped inform ChemCo's future economic, social and environmental sustainability strategy, whilst the action of conducting the research fostered greater communication and understanding between different sections of the business, developed new data collection and management processes and helped embed sustainable development objectives throughout the organization. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Corporate sustainability accounting reflects the need to draw managers into debates and actions about corporate sustainability. Four different views of the term can be discerned: a voguish buzzword; a broad umbrella term; a single monetary measure and a pragmatic decision support tool. It is argued that two paths towards the further development of sustainability accounting seem to be available – top down and stakeholder driven. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
In recent years there has been a marked resurgence of interest in the areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social and environmental accounting (SEA) among business, governments, public policymakers, investors, unions, environmentalists and others. While at one level there appears to be widespread agreement that CSR and SEA are worthy topics of attention, different groups have very different understandings of these fields. This article provides an analysis of these differences by comparing three broad approaches to SEA: the business case, stakeholder-accountability and critical theory approaches. It also responds to concerns a number of commentators have expressed regarding the current dominance of ‘business case’ perspectives. While not seeking to impose on readers a ‘correct’ way of viewing SEA and CSR, exposure to competing perspectives is viewed as one way of challenging us to think more reflectively about the frames available to us and their implications for the social realities we construct, embed or seek to change. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Accounting for the social dimension of sustainability proves to be a challenge for corporate practitioners, due to its intangible, qualitative nature and lack of consensus on relevant criteria. We suggest a semi-quantitative approach based on stakeholder involvement to identify relevant aspects for a sector specific assessment of the social dimension. Our case study on biotechnology illustrates that the dialogue with internal and external stakeholders enabled the creation of a key performance indicator (KPI) set to account for social sustainability in the early design stages of biotechnological processes and product development. Indicators for eight aspects are identified for the social assessment: health and safety, quality of working conditions, impact on employment, education and training, knowledge management, innovation potential, customer acceptance and societal product benefit, and social dialogue. We describe the integration of the KPI set in a software application, tailor made for practitioners of the sector, and highlight first user experiences. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This paper analyses environmental reporting practices found in the annual reports published by 51 large companies operating in Spain, with the aim of determining which factors in the firms analysed – belonging to ecologically sensitive sectors – explain the quantity and characteristics of the environmental information published and its evolution. Moreover, the paper takes into account the implementation of the Spanish compulsory accounting standard of 25 March 2002 and its impact on the environmental reporting behaviour. The results of the content analysis for the period 2001–02 show a significant increase in the environmental information compared with the 1992–94 period. For the first year in which the environmental accounting standard was in force (2002), the results show a high percentage of environmental disclosures in the notes to the annual accounts, although the degree and level of disclosures is very heterogeneous, in both form as well as quantity and quality. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Environmental accounting is on an expansion path. With increasing social focus on the environment, accounting fills an expectation role, to measure environmental performance. The status of environmental awareness provides a dynamic for business reporting its environmental performance. Examining the integration of environmental policy with business policy is the focus of this research. The business firm's strategy includes responding to capital and operating costs of pollution control equipment. This is caused by increasing public concerns over environmental issues, and by a recent government-led trend to incentive-based regulation. This paper describes the environmental component of the business strategy, producing the required performance reports and recognizing the multiple skills required to measure, compile and analyze the requisite data. Special emphasis of the research is on generation of reports and their standards, for the range of business and regulatory purposes. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Internationally, there is growing awareness of the environmental and social impacts of the business activities of organizations. This awareness was heightened by the 1987 report Our Common Future by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED, 1987). In order to address the concerns raised, companies have increasingly reported the social and environmental impacts of their business activities to secure their right to operate from society. This paper argues for the importance of an integrated reporting framework that provides information on economic performance via intellectual capital (IC) information and non-economic performance, including that used in the management of performance across social and environmental impacts. This paper briefly reviews three extended reporting approaches, namely IC, balanced scorecard (BSC) and social and environmental reporting. The paper demonstrates that the emphases of these reporting approaches, while diverse, could be complementary to one another and be integrated into an extended performance reporting framework (EPRF), which would provide a more complete account of the management and performance of an organization. The EPRF could empower stakeholders and facilitate change in the way organizations conduct their activities. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) increasingly attempt to use the capital markets to further their aims. This paper proposes a taxonomy for such intervention that is based on two distinct strategies: a macro capital redistribution strategy and a micro investor influence strategy, both of which can be undertaken either directly or indirectly. The paper reviews empirical evidence of the success of each strategy through four case studies. It concludes by suggesting that there is some empirical evidence that the typology can be successfully applied and that there is some initial evidence that NGO capital market engagement strategies have, in certain circumstances, successfully changed business strategy. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
In an attempt to avoid costly regulation and liability as a result of externalities, a number of trade associations have promoted industry self-regulation – the voluntary association of firms to control their collective behavior. However, previous studies have found that, without explicit sanctions for malfeasance, such self-regulatory programs are likely to attract more polluting firms. In this paper, we examine four environmental self-regulatory programs in the chemical, textile, and pulp and paper industries. Using a sample of over 4000 firms within these industries, we find evidence that in at least one program more polluting firms tended to join, while in another cleaner firms were more likely to join. We propose that differences in the structure of the programs drive the appearance of this form of adverse selection. In particular, we speculate that only when self-regulatory programs have explicit sanctions for malfeasance may they avoid adverse selection problems. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
In recent years, an increasing number of private as well as public organizations have been engaged with implementation and use of environmental management systems (EMSs). This raises questions as to the reasons for implementing an EMS and, not least, about the roles and contributions of an EMS in an organization. Based in particular on research on contemporary municipal environmental management in Sweden, and also drawing on EMS research and experiences in other countries, this paper argues that an EMS may be understood not only as a technical tool for analytical management, as is traditionally done, but also as a tool for communicative action and organizational learning. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
A key debate in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature is the tension between global pressures and local responses. Developing country suppliers often grumble that CSR compliance adds costs. Yet, local collective action, articulated through industry associations, can potentially reduce costs and promote local embeddedness of CSR initiatives. Through case study analysis, this paper considers how demands for CSR compliance prompted collective action responses in selected developing country export industries. We argue that differences in collective responses can be partially explained by how local export industries are inserted into global value chains. We distinguish between ‘highly visible’ value chains, led by internationally well known brands as lead firms, and relatively ‘less visible’ chains, where external CSR pressures come from a variety of sources, including less dominant lead firms, international/national regulatory frameworks and national media. This differentiation suggests a possible trade-off between the independence and the embeddedness of collective CSR initiatives. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Over the last two decades, banks have been developing environmental credit risk assessment policies and procedures. Today, even NGOs who had been at the forefront of campaigns naming and shaming bad practices acknowledge banks are taking environmental risk management seriously. Nonetheless, they now challenge banks to go further, advocating a ‘no harm’ approach based on a so-called ‘veto’ of investments. The author draws a post-structuralist position on risk perception to argue a characterization of environmental governance in terms of action and veto may mislead debate. Instead, the author proposes the starting point for debate on the part banks can play in governing the environment lies in mutual agreement on precautionary action. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
This paper presents a case study on the identification of key sustainable development issues for the transmission system of an electric utility. It provides a structured approach to identifying priorities for action within existing corporate infrastructure. The application of the process is discussed, with an emphasis on strategies for the selection of priorities for immediate action, illustrating linkages between the selected key issues and lessons learned. To demonstrate how the issues may lead to the development of indicators, example sustainable development indicators are presented for a selected key issue. The case study illustrates that key stakeholders must be involved throughout the entire process, that the process of developing the issues and indicators is just as important as the final result and that any indicator development process must build on existing corporate infrastructure wherever possible. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Article
Most studies of environmental impacts operate at the level of the individual firm. However, firms can act collectively in the face of threats such as that described in this paper: the banning of CFCs. A framework based upon concepts from theories of collective action is used to explain why two different forms of collective action were initiated by producers of CFCs. Economic calculation operating within the social institutions of the industry seemed to provide a plausible explanation for the occurrence of co-operative behaviour. In particular the concepts of collective goods and free riding proved to be helpful in explicating the driving forces that led to joint action in these circumstances. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment
 
Article
The importance of environmental management has long been recognized and has, among other things, resulted in a number of national and international recommendations and guidelines for sustainable business practice. However, although several examples of the actual implementation of environmental management initiatives have been reported, there is little evidence available for an evaluation of the general situation. This is also true for Denmark. A survey was therefore carried out to obtain some knowledge of the extent and nature of environmental management practice in Danish manufacturing companies. Some of the general results indicate a situation where the major driving factor is legislation and where only a few companies have formulated a general environmental policy and written internal environmental guidelines. Many companies have established practical steps in improving their environmental situation, but mainly because of the cost-saving effects. Only a limited number of companies have introduced techniques which can help to monitor and control the environmental situation and development.
 
Article
Shareholder groups are increasingly going beyond the decision to invest, not to invest, or to divest by proposing and voting on company specific corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues at annual shareholder meetings. This activity is joined by an increasingly sophisticated ‘strategy of engagement’ by both shareholders and companies. In the process, a model of investor capitalism based on ‘responsible ownership’ is being forged that addresses social and environmental issues previously outside the domain of most shareholders. This paper traces a historical perspective on the growth and spread of shareholder activism, describes the key actors currently involved in this activity, illustrates the CSR issues being raised, explains the process of preparing resolutions and entering into dialogue, assesses some of the results gained so far and lays a conceptual foundation to help analyse the effectiveness of shareholder activism and assess the viability of models of ‘shareholder democracy’. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
 
Top-cited authors
Kai Hockerts
  • Copenhagen Business School
Thomas Dyllick
  • The Institute for Business Sustainability Lucerne and University of St.Gallen
Marcus Wagner
  • Universität Augsburg
Stefan Schaltegger
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
Ans Kolk
  • University of Amsterdam