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The rationale for ISO 14001 certification: A systematic review and a cost-benefit analysis


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This contribution presents the findings from a two-stage systematic review. It relied on PRISMA’s methodical protocol to capture and analyze high-impact articles, that were fo-cused on the International Standards Organization’s ISO 14001 - Environment Management Systems. Whilst stage 1 shed light on the most cited publications since 1995, stage 2 nar-rowed down the search results between 2015 and 2021. The findings suggest that the use of this certifiable standard may result in operational efficiencies through better utilization of resources and waste management systems. It provides opportunities for practitioners to re-conceive their license to operate and to enhance their credentials with stakeholders. It considered potential pitfalls like high certification costs, time constraints as well as an in-crease in paperwork and red tape. Moreover, it recognizes that managers and employees may not be willing to implement changes as they may prefer the status quo or could not be knowledgeable enough to integrate the standard’s environment management systems with existing practices.
Content may be subject to copyright.
The rationale for ISO 14001 certification: A systematic review and a cost-
benefit analysis
Mark Anthony Camilleri, University of Malta
, Malta and University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
This is a prepublication version.
Suggested Citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2022). The rationale for ISO 14001 certification: A systematic review and a
cost-benefit analysis, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management,
Abstract: This contribution presents the findings from a two-stage systematic review. It relied
on PRISMA’s methodical protocol to capture and analyze high-impact articles, that were fo-
cused on the International Standards Organization’s ISO 14001 - Environment Management
Systems. Whilst stage 1 shed light on the most cited publications since 1995, stage 2 narrowed
down the search results between 2015 and 2021. The findings suggest that the use of this cer-
tifiable standard may result in operational efficiencies through better utilization of resources
and waste management systems. It provides opportunities for practitioners to re-conceive their
license to operate and to enhance their credentials with stakeholders. It considered potential
pitfalls like high certification costs, time constraints as well as an increase in paperwork and
red tape. Moreover, it recognizes that managers and employees may not be willing to imple-
ment changes as they may prefer the status quo or could not be knowledgeable enough to inte-
grate the standard’s environment management systems with existing practices.
Keywords: Environment management; ISO 14001; environmental performance; cost-benefit
analysis; systematic review; PRISMA.
Department of Corporate Communication, Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of
Malta, Malta. Email:
1. Introduction
During the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21), one hundred ninety-six (196) countries
pledged their commitment to implement environmental performance measures to reduce the
effects of climate change. This conference has led to the development of the ‘Paris Agreement’
where signatories became legally bound to limit global warming to below 2°C, and possibly
1.5°C (Palea & Drogo, 2020; Secinaro, Brescia, Calandra & Saiti, 2020). They recognized the
importance of averting and minimizing the environmental impact that is caused by climate
change, by scaling up their efforts and support initiatives to reduce emissions, by building re-
silience among parties, and by promoting cooperation (Birindelli & Chiappini, 2021; Gatto,
In the aftermath of COP 21, many countries submitted their plans for climate action (these
plans are also known as nationally determined contributions - NDCs), where they communi-
cated about their tangible actions that were aimed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and
the impacts of rising temperatures (Fatica & Panzica, 2021; Gerged, Matthews & Elheddad,
2021). Consequentially, intergovernmental organizations including the European Union (EU),
among others, are increasingly establishing ambitious carbon neutrality goals and zero-carbon
solutions to tackle climate change issues (Benz, Paulus, Scherer, Syryca & Trück, 2021).
Many countries are incentivizing businesses across different economic sectors, to reduce
their emissions. For example, the EU member states are expected to reduce their greenhouse
gas emissions by 40% before 2030, and by 60% prior to 2050 (EU, 2019). These targets would
require the commitment of stakeholders from various sectors including those operating within
the energy and transportation industries, among others.
The latest climate change conference (COP26) suggested that progress has been made on
the signatories’ mitigation measures that were aimed to reduce emissions, on their adaptation
efforts to deal with climate change impacts, on the mobilization of finance, and on the increased
collaboration among countries to reach 2030 emissions targets. However, more concerted ef-
forts are required to deliver on these four pledges (UNFCC, 2021).
This contribution raises awareness on the use of environmental management standards
that are intended to support organizations of different types and sizes, including private entities,
not-for-profits as well as governmental agencies, to improve their environmental performance
credentials. A thorough review of the relevant literature suggests that, over the years many
practitioners have utilized the International Standards Organization’s ISO 14001 environment
management systems standard to assist them in their environmental management issues (Baek,
2018; Delmas & Toffel, 2008; ErauskinTolosa, ZubeltzuJaka, HerasSaizarbitoria & Boiral,
2020; Melnyk, Sroufe & Calantone, 2003).
Many academic commentators noted that several practitioners operating in different in-
dustry sectors, in various contexts, are implementing ISO 14001 requirements to obtain this
standard’s certification (Boiral, Guillaumie, HerasSaizarbitoria & Tayo Tene, 2018; Para
González & MascaraqueRamírez, 2019; Riaz, & Saeed, 2020). Whilst several researchers con-
tended about the benefits of abiding by voluntary principles and guidelines (Camilleri, 2018),
others discussed about the main obstacles to obtaining impartial audits, assurances and certifi-
cations from independent standard setters (Hillary, 2004; Ma, Liu, Appolloni & Liu, 2021;
Robèrt, Schmidt-Bleek, Aloisi De Larderel … &
2002; Teng & Wu, 2018).
Hence, this research examines identifies the rationale for ISO 14001 certification (Car-
valho, Santos & Gonçalves, 2020; Eltayeb, Zailani & Ramayah, 2011; Lee, Noh, Choi & Rha,
2017; Potoski & Prakash, 2005)
that is supposedly intended to improve the organizations’ en-
vironmental performance and to enhance their credentials. Specifically, this contribution’s ob-
jectives are threefold. Firstly, it provides a generic background on voluntary instruments, pol-
icies and guidelines that are intended to promote corporate environmentally responsible behav-
iors. Secondly, it presents the results from a systematic review of academic articles that were
focused on ISO 14001 - environment management systems. Thirdly, it synthesizes the findings
from high impact papers and discusses about the benefits and costs of using this standard. In
conclusion, it elaborates on the implications of this research, it identifies its limitations and
points out future research avenues.
In sum, this contribution differentiates itself from previous articles, particularly those that
sought to investigate the introduction and implementation of environment management sys-
tems in specific entities.
This research involves
a two-stage systematic analysis. It appraises a
number of empirical investigations, theoretical articles, reviews, case studies, discursive/opin-
ion papers, from 1995-2021. Afterwards, it scrutinizes their content to shed more light on the
pros and cons of using ISO 14001 as a vehicle to improve corporate environmental perfor-
2. Regulatory instruments, principles and guidelines for good practice
Stakeholders expect organizations including businesses, governmental organizations as
well as non-government organizations (NGOs), to do the right things and to communicate
about their laudable activities. They must be seen operating in a responsible manner, by looking
after their employees, by taking care of the environment, and by being good corporate citizens.
When problems occur, businesses must act quickly to resolve problematic matters. While many
governments and their policymakers have been the primary force for the promotion of financial
reporting standards (Camilleri, 2017a; Weber, 2014), intergovernmental institutions like the
United Nations Global Compact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develop-
ment (OECD) as well as a number of NGOs, including ISO, the Global Reporting Initiative
(GRI) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), among others, have
increasingly facilitated the growth and diffusion of non-financial reporting mechanisms (Ca-
milleri, 2017b; Fortuna, Testarmata, Sergiacomi & Ciaburri, 2020).
Several NGOs developed predefined norms, procedures and guidelines to support organ-
izations, including businesses, on social, environmental management and corporate governance
issues (Boström & Hallström, 2010; Salomone, 2008). For example, ISO developed perfor-
mance and/or process-oriented standards that can be applied across different industry sectors
and geographic regions (Dissou, 2005). A few substantive standards can also provide certifi-
cation for compliance as well as independent monitoring systems and assurance mechanisms
(Husted, Montiel & Christmann, 2016).
However, in many cases, certifiable standards are adopted on a voluntary basis. They are
considered as soft law solutions, as they are not legally-binding, although they may fill numer-
ous governance and accountability gaps for which there is no applicable regulation or enforce-
ment (Nakamura, Takahashi & Vertinsky, 2001). Their principles may eventually be internal-
ized by practitioners as they allow them to improve their credentials with stakeholders (Husted
et al., 2016) and to meet the expectations of society.
The organizations’ stakeholders can make or break their reputation and standing (Park,
2019). Positive as well as adverse publicity that is generated through media events or during
public protests can impact directly on corporate image and on revenues
Xu, Zeng, Zou & Shi,
2016). They can indirectly affect share prices and access to capital investment (Su, Swanson
& Chen, 2018).
Consumers can impose direct economic costs on non-compliant companies by boycotting
products or services in addition to negative word-of-mouth marketing. Stakeholders including
the governments, regulatory authorities, NGOs and other organizations within the supply chain,
may severely sanction irresponsible organizations if they do not respect societal norms and
ethical values (Camilleri, 2016). Bad publicity could induce firms to adopt beyond-compliance
measures to engage in corporate citizenship (Wilburn & Wilburn, 2011). Arguably, private
businesses are continuously expected to prove their social license to operate, and to avoid un-
necessary criticism from stakeholders (Colwell & Joshi, 2013; Demuijnck & Fasterling, 2016).
The institutional theory posits that firms ought to respond to regulatory pressures in soci-
ety (Clemens & Douglas, 200). They have to do so to access critical resources or merely for
social acceptance purposes (Ntim & Soobaroyen, 2013). The organizations’ compliance with
their operating environment’s regulations enables them to improve their legitimacy among
stakeholders (Beck, Dumay & Frost, 2017).
Hence, there is scope for them to anticipate hard legislation. They could impose stricter
regulations on themselves to prevent irregularities, and/or to reduce their chances of legal vio-
lations (Hillary, 2004). If they do so, they will be perceived as credible and trustworthy. As a
result, they would be in a better position to build their reputation, and to achieve a competitive
advantage relative to their rivals (Khan, Yang & Waheed, 2019; Orsato, 2006; Yu, Kuo & Kao,
2017). Businesses can enhance their legitimacy with stakeholders by communicating about
their non-financial performance
Balluchi, Lazzini & Torelli, 2021). They can disclose infor-
mation on their corporate governance, social and environmentally sound behaviors in corporate
social responsibility (CSR) or Sustainability reports (Duthler & Dhanesh, 2018; Ettinger,
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Jenkins Report may be consid-
ered as one of the major documents that has provided the foundations for non-financial disclo-
sures. Other guidelines that are focused on environmental management systems were devel-
oped by intergovernmental agencies as well as by standard setters (including ISO), to assist
businesses and other organizations to improve their environmental responsibility credentials
Romito & Vurro, 2021).
For example, the EU's non-financial reporting directive (NFRD) law requires that large
undertakings including corporations, listed businesses and government entities, among others,
to disclose information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental chal-
lenges (Camilleri, 2015a). This helps investors, civil society organizations, consumers, policy
makers and other stakeholders to be in a better position to evaluate the companies’ non-finan-
cial performance (EU, 2014).
Recently, EU (2021) put forward its proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting
Directive (CSRD), which shall amend the existing reporting requirements of the EU’s NFRD.
In sum, this proposal extends the audit requirement to large entities including government
agencies, listed businesses, financial organizations like banks and insurance companies, among
others, in regulated markets (except listed micro-enterprises). They will be expected to intro-
duce more detailed reporting requirements, according to mandatory EU sustainability reporting
standards. At the time of writing this paper, it is envisaged that the first set of standards could
be adopted by October 2022 (EU, 2021).
Regulatory principles and guidelines can help practitioners to identify, manage, monitor
and control corporate environmental issues in a “holistic” manner (Melnyk et al., 2003). Such
instruments and substantive systems are meant to support organizations in their waste manage-
ment, and in reducing pollution, while simultaneously improving their environmental and fi-
nancial performance (Camilleri, 2021a; Rivera-Arrubla, Zorio-Grima & García-Benau, 2017).
For example, ISO 14000 family of standards as well as the European Union’s Eco-Man-
agement and Audit Scheme (EMAS) cover different aspects that promote greener environmen-
tal management performance. EMAS raises awareness on sustainable energy generation capac-
ities through renewable sources, regular assessments on the co-generation of heating facilities,
periodic material disclosures and monitoring on energy efficiencies, et cetera. Moreover, ISO
standards are purposely devised to address perennial issues including greenhouse gas emis-
sions, water and air pollution prevention, among others.
2.1 ISO family of standards
ISO 14000 family of environmental management standards (EMSs) are developed by the
International Standards Organization’s Technical Committee ISO/TC 207 and its various sub-
committees. They comprise principles and guidelines to help organizations to: (i) minimize
their impact on the environment, (ii) comply with relevant legislation and regulations, and (c)
to foster continuous operational improvements in their environmental management practices.
ISO 14001 - Environmental management systems - Requirements with guidance for use (Oc-
tober 2015) is a voluntary, certifiable standard that specifies the requirements for an effective
environmental management system.
This standard encourages practitioners toward achieving continuous improvements in
their organizational approaches to minimize their impact on the environment (Klassen &
Vachon, 2003; Kitazawa & Sarkis, 2000). It recommends that environmental management is-
sues ought to be embedded within the organizations’ strategic planning processes (Delmas,
2001, Eltayeb, Zailani & Ramayah, 2011). ISO 14001 specifies that leaders have to pledge
their commitment to implement sustainable initiatives, to protect the environment and to miti-
gate climate change (Bravi, Santos, Pagano & Murmura, 2020; Chiarini, 2019). This standard
raises awareness on the importance of promoting corporate environmentally responsible be-
haviors through different media and of forging relationships with different stakeholders. A
number of other ISO standards are focused on specific aspects of the environment, including
ISO 4226, ISO 6107 and ISO 10381, among others. Table 1 provides a non-exhaustive list of
ISO’s environmental standards.
Table 1. A list of ISO environmental standards
ISO 4226
Air Quality
ISO 6107
Water Quality
Soil quality
ISO 14001
Environmental management systems - Requirements with guidance for use
ISO 14002 Environmental management systems - Guidelines for using ISO 14001 to ad-
dress environmental aspects and conditions within an environmental topic area
Part 1: General
ISO 14004
Environmental management systems
General guidelines on implementation
ISO 14005 Environmental management systems - Guidelines for a flexible approach to
phased implementation
ISO 14006
Environmental management systems
Guidelines for incorporating eco
ISO 14015 Environmental management - Environmental assessment of sites and organi-
zations (EASO)
ISO 14020
Environmental labels and declarations
General principles
ISO 14021 Environmental labels and declarations: Self-declaration of environmental
claims: guidelines, definitions and usage of terms
ISO14024 Environmental labels and declarations - Type I Environmental labelling - Prin-
ciples and procedures
ISO 14030 Environmental performance evaluation - Green debt instruments — Part 1:
Process for green bonds
ISO 14031 Environmental management - Environmental performance evaluation - Guide-
ISO 14040 Environmental management - Life cycle assessment Principles and frame-
ISO 14044 Environmental management - Life cycle assessment - Requirements and guide-
ISO 14050
Environmental management
ISO 14062 Environmental management - Integrating environmental aspects into product
n and development
ISO 14063 Environmental management - Environmental communication - Guidelines and
ISO 14064 Greenhouse gases; measuring, quantifying, and reducing greenhouse gas emis-
ISO 14065
General principles and requirements for bodies validating and verifying envi-
ronmental information
ISO 14067 Greenhouse gases - Carbon footprint of products - Requirements and guide-
lines for quantification
ISO 14090
Adaptation to climate change
Principles, requirements and g
ISO 15099
Thermal performance of windows, doors and shading devices
ISO 15270
Guidelines for the recovery and recycling of plastics waste
ISO 17029
Conformity assessment
ISO 50001
Energy management system
3. Methodology
This research adopted PRISMA’s robust protocol (Moher, Shamseer, Clarke, Ghersi, Lib-
erati, Petticrew ... & Stewart, 2015) to systematically extract and scrutinize the content from
academic sources that were indexed in Scopus. Hence, this review was carefully planned and
documented in all stages, to ensure that its accountability, integrity, and transparency. The
search query considered only those articles that were published in peer-reviewed journals. The
contributions that that were published in books, book series, conference proceedings and trade
journals were excluded from this analysis - as they were not considered as rigorous as academic
journals (Boiral et al., 2018).
Scopus featured a list of contributing authors and identified their articles’ titles, publisher,
subject areas and keywords. The researcher sorted the publications from highest to lowest num-
ber of citations. Figure 1 clarifies the methodology that was used to capture, analyze and syn-
thesize the findings for this systematic review.
Figure 1: The PRISMA protocol that was used for this systematic review
Formulation of the research question
Systematic analysis - Stage 1
Relevant keywords were inserted in the search query.
Only contributions that were published in (Scopus-indexed) journals were
identified and screened in this review.
The query yielded a list of top journals, subject areas of previous articles and
reported the most popular keywords that were inserted by the contributing au-
Systematic analysis – Stage 2
A similar methodology was used as in Stage 1. The review was limited to arti-
cles and reviews from journals that were published in the last 7 years, specifi-
cally between January 2015 – December 2021.
Syntheses and interpretation of the findings from eligible contributions
Conclusions and implications
The systematic review considered publications that featured “ISO 14001” in their title,
abstract and keywords, as of January 2022. The search revealed that there were 2,273 contri-
butions since 1995.
According to the systematic analysis (stage 1), there were 1,367 journal articles that were
written in English. According to Scopus, the top 10 subject areas of these articles were related
to Environmental Science (667); Business, Management and Accounting (661); Engineering
(436); Social Sciences (308); Energy (240); Economics, Econometrics and Finance (125);
Medicine (83), Agriculture and Biological Sciences (63), and Materials Science (57).
The Journal of Cleaner Production has published 151 articles on this topic. It was followed
by Business Strategy and the Environment (39); Environmental Quality Management (38);
Sustainability Switzerland (28); Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Manage-
ment (27); Corporate Environmental Strategy (22); Journal of Environmental Management
(22); Greener Management International (19); Management of Environmental Quality: An In-
ternational Journal (19), and Quality Progress (16).
Over time, the most used keywords included: ISO 14001 (505); Environmental Manage-
ment (452); Environmental Management Systems (243); Sustainable Development (155);
Standards (146); Environmental Protection (143); Environmental Management System (142);
Environmental Impact (130), Certification (119) and Sustainability (109).
Table 2 presents a list of 35 most-cited articles on “ISO 14001” that accumulated more
than 200 citations in Scopus (to date). It endorses the contributing authors, describes their
methodological approaches, and features the keywords of their research.
Table 2. List of most-cited academic articles on ISO 14001
Rank Authors Year Source title
Type Keywords
1 Melnyk, S.A., Sroufe, R.P.,
Calantone, R. 2003 Journal of Operations
Management Empirical
Decision analysis; Empirical research; Environmental management
systems; ISO 14001; Regression; Survey.
2 Delmas, M.A., Toffel, M.W. 2008 Strategic Management
Journal Empirical
Environmental strategy; Institutional theory; ISO 14001; Stake-
holder influence; Structural equation modeling; Voluntary environ-
mental programs.
3 King, A.A., Lenox, M.J., Ter-
laak, A. 2005 Academy of Manage-
ment Journal Empirical ISO 14001; Decentralized institutions; Certified management
4 Hillary, R. 2004 Journal of Cleaner
Production Review
EMAS self-regulation; Enterprise ISO 14001; Environmental man-
agement system; EU; SME
Robèrt, K.-H., Schmidt-Bleek,
B., Aloisi De Larderel, J., Ba-
sile, G., Jansen, J.L., Kuehr, R.,
Price Thomas, P., Suzuki, M.,
Hawken, P., Wackernagel, M.
2002 Journal of Cleaner
Production Review
Backcasting; Cleaner production (CP); Ecological footprinting;
EMAS; EMS; ISO 14001; Life cycle assessment (LCA); Natural
capitalism; Strategic planning; Sustainability; Sustainable develop-
ment; Sustainable technological development (STD); System con-
ditions; Systems thinking; The natural step (TNS); Upstream
thinking; Zero emissions (ZE).
6 Eltayeb, T.K., Zailani, S., Ra-
mayah, T. 2011 Resources, Conserva-
tion and Recycling Empirical
Certified manufacturing companies; Green supply chain; Green
supply chain outcomes; Malaysia.
7 Potoski, M., Prakash, A. 2005 American Journal of
Political Science Empirical ISO 14001; Voluntary governance; Regulatory compliance.
8 Boiral, O. 2007 Organization Science Case study
Environmental performances; ISO 14001; Organizational hypoc-
risy; Rational myths; Ritual integration; Social legitimacy.
9 Jacobs, B.W., Singhal, V.R.,
Subramanian, R. 2010 Journal of Operations
Management Empirical
Awards; Certifications; Environmental initiatives; Environmental
performance; Market value; Stock market reaction.
10 Klassen, R.D., Vachon, S. 2003 Production and Opera-
tions Management Empirical
Environmental management; ISO 14001; Pollution control; Pollu-
tion prevention; Supply chain management.
11 Delmas, M.A. 2002 Policy Sciences Review
Environmental management; Industrial regulation; Institutional
framework; Standard; Waste management.
12 Morrow, D., Rondinelli, D. 2002 European Manage-
ment Journal Case study EMAS; EMS; Energy; Environment; Environmental manage-
ment; Gas; ISO 14001.
13 Rennings, K., Ziegler, A., An-
kele, K., Hoffmann, E. 2006 Ecological Economics Empirical
Economic performance; Environmental innovations; Environmen-
tal management systems; Sustainability.
14 Orsato, R.J. 2006 California Manage-
ment Review Discursive
Competitive advantage; Competitive environmental strategies; Eco
efficiency; Beyond compliance leadership; Eco-branding; Environ-
mental cost leadership.
15 Bansal, P., Hunter, T. 2003 Journal of Business
Ethics Empirical Early adoption; ISO 14001; Strategic realignment; Strategic rein-
16 Potoski, M., Prakash, A. 2005
Journal of Policy
Analysis and Manage-
Environmental performance; ISO 14001; Third party audits.
17 Prakash, A., Potoski, M. 2006 American Journal of
Political Science Empirical Environmental governance; ISO 14001; Environmental regula-
18 Tsai, W.-H., Chou, W.-C. 2009 Expert Systems with
Applications Empirical
Analytic network process (ANP); Decision Making Trial and Eval-
uation Laboratory (DEMATEL); Management system; Sustainable
development; Zero-one goal programming (ZOGP).
19 Rondinelli, D., Vastag, G. 2000 European Manage-
ment Journal Case study Certification; Environmental Management; ISO 14001; Quality
20 Heras-Saizarbitoria, I., Boiral,
O. 2013
International Journal
of Management Re-
ISO 14001; ISO 9001; Management system standards; Meta-stand-
ards; Global governance.
21 Ljungberg, L.Y. 2007 Materials and Design Review
Design; Ecology; Environmental impact; Materials selection; Re-
cycling; Sustainable product development.
22 Robèrt, K.-H. 2000 Journal of Cleaner
Production Review
Sustainable development; Sustainability; Systems thinking; Back-
casting; Strategies; Strategic planning; Ecological footprinting;
ISO 14001; EMAS; EMS; System conditions; The Natural Step
23 Jiang, R.J., Bansal, P. 2003 Journal of Manage-
ment Studies
Environmental management systems; ISO 14001; Paper industry.
24 Delmas, M. 2001 Production and Opera-
tions Management Empirical
Competitive advantage; Natural environment; Organizational capa-
bility; Resource-based view; Stakeholders; Structural equation
25 Govindan, K., Khodaverdi, R.,
Vafadarnikjoo, A. 2015 Expert Systems with
Applications Case study
DEMATEL; Green performances; Green practices; Green supply
chain management (GSCM); Intuitionistic fuzzy set (IFS).
26 Kitazawa, S., Sarkis, J. 2000
International Journal
of Operations and Pro-
duction Management
Case study
Environmental management systems; International standards; Or-
ganizational centre; TQM.
27 Jørgensen, T.H., Remmen, A.,
Mellado, M.D. 2006 Journal of Cleaner
Production Review
Compatibility; Coordinated generic processes; Integrated manage-
ment systems; Integration; ISO 14001; ISO 9001; Management
system; OHSAS 18001; SA 8000.
28 Bansal, P. 2002 Academy of Manage-
ment Executive
ISO 14001; Sustainable development; International en-vironment
systems; In-house environmental systems.
29 Chan, E.S.W., Wong, S.C.K. 2006 Tourism Management Empirical Discriminant analysis; EMS; Hotel industry; ISO 14001; Predictive
30 Hsu, C.-C., Tan, K.C., Zailani,
S.H.M., Jayaraman, V. 2013
International Journal
of Operations and Pro-
duction Management
Design for environment; Emerging economy; Green purchasing;
Green supply chain; Malaysia; Newly in-dustrialised economies;
Reverse logistics; Supply chain management; Sustainable develop-
31 González, P., Sarkis, J.,
Adenso-Díaz, B. 2008
International Journal
of Operations and Pro-
duction Management
Automotive industry; Environmental management; International
standards; Spain; Supply chain management.
32 Zeng, S.X., Shi, J.J., Lou, G.X. 2007 Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical
Environment; Health and safety; Integrated management system;
ISO 14001; ISO 9001; OHSAS 18001; Quality; Synergy.
33 Nakamura, M., Takahashi, T.,
Vertinsky, I. 2001
Journal of Environ-
mental Economics and
Decision making; Environmental economics; Industrial regulation;
Strategic approach.
34 Bansal, P., Bogner, W.C. 2002 Long Range Planning Empirical
ISO 14001; Costs; Benefits; Environmental responsiveness; Insti-
35 Laosirihongthong, T.,
Adebanjo, D., Choon Tan, K. 2013 Industrial Manage-
ment & Data Systems Empirical
Performance; Institutional theory; Green supply chain manage-
Note: Sorted from highest to lowest number of citations.
Additional analyses through this systematic review revealed that several researchers dis-
cussed about the rationale for using ISO 14001. The findings reported that there were 404
documents results when the keywords “ISO 14001“AND “Benefits” were included in the
search query. On the other hand, there were 328 document results when “ISO 14001” AND
“Costs” were used (according to the results from the systematic review - stage 1).
Furthermore, the systematic analysis (stage 2) sheds light on the latest contributions that
were published in the last 7 years, specifically between January 2015 and December 2021. ISO
published its third edition of ISO 14001 in October of the same year. During this period, there
were 497 articles that were published in English, in peer reviewed journals. The review indi-
cated that the top 10 subject areas were related to Business, Management and Accounting
(250); Environmental Science (244); Engineering (138); Social Sciences (127); Energy (117);
Economics, Econometrics and Finance (55); Decision Sciences (50); Computer Science (28);
Medicine (22) and Chemical Engineering (18).
Again, with 57 publications, the Journal of Cleaner Production was ranked as the top
journal. Other outlets included Sustainability Switzerland (28); Business Strategy and the En-
vironment (23); Quality Access to Success (12); Corporate Social Responsibility and Environ-
mental Management (10); Environmental Engineering and Management Journal (9); Total
Quality Management and Business Excellence (9); International Journal for Quality Research
(8); TQM Journal (8); and Environmental Quality Management (7). Table 3 presents a list of
35 most-cited articles between January 2015 and December 2021. To date, these contributions
accumulated more than 50 citations in Scopus.
Table 3. List of most-cited academic articles on ISO 14001 - between 2015 and 2021
Rank Authors Year Source title Research Type Keywords
1* Govindan, K., Khodaverdi,
R., Vafadarnikjoo A. 2015
Expert Systems
with Applications Empirical
DEMATEL; Green performances; Green practices; Green
supply chain management (GSCM); Intuitionistic fuzzy set
Abdul-Rashid, S.H., Sa-
kundarini, N., Raja
Ghazilla, R.A.,
Thurasamy, R.
International Jour-
nal of Operations
and Production
Economic performance; Environmental performance; Social
performance; Structural equation modelling; Sustainability
performance; Sustainable manufacturing practices.
Teixeira, A.A., Jabbour,
C.J.C., De Sousa Jabbour,
A.B.L., Latan, H., De
Oliveira, J.H.C.
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical
Brazil; Green human resource management; Green supply
chain; Green training; Sustainable management; Sustainable
4 Miroshnychenko, I.,
Barontini, R., Testa, F. 2017
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical Financial performance; Green product; Green supply chain
management; ISO 14001; Pollution prevention.
5 Testa, F., Boiral, O.,
Iraldo, F. 2018
Journal of Business
Ethics Empirical Environmental management system; Environmental strat-
egy; Greenwashing; Institutional complexity; Stakeholders.
Latan, H., Chiappetta Jab-
bour, C.J., Lopes de Sousa
Jabbour, A.B., Wamba,
S.F., Shahbaz, M.
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical
Corporate environmental performance; Environmental man-
agement accounting; Environmental strategy; Perceived en-
vironmental uncertainty; Top Management's commitment.
Bernardo, M., Simon, A.,
Tarí, J.J., Molina-Azorín,
Journal of Cleaner
Production Review Benefits; Integrated management sys-
tem; ISO 14001; ISO 9001; Literature review; Performance.
Boiral, O., Guillaumie, L.,
Heras-Saizarbitoria, I.,
Tayo Tene, C.V.
International Jour-
nal of Management
Review ISO14001 impacts; inclusion criteria; exclusion criteria;
ISO14001 outcomes; ISO14001 adoption.
9 Jabbour, C.J.C. 2015
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical
Brazil; Environmental management; Environmental train-
ing; Green human resource management; ISO 14001; Sus-
Abu Seman, N.A., Go-
vindan, K., Mardani, A.,
Zakuan, N., Mat Saman,
M.Z., Hooker, R.E.,
Ozkul, S.
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical
Environmental; Environmental performance; Green innova-
tion; Green supply chain management (GSCM); Manufac-
turing industry.
11 Souza, J.P.E., Alves, J.M. 2018
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical Corporate sustainability; ISO 14001; ISO 26000; ISO 9001;
Lean manufacturing; OHSAS 18001.
12 Scur, G., Barbosa, M.E. 2017
Journal of Cleaner
Production Case Study Electrical–electronic industry; Green practices; Green sup-
ply chain management; Home appliance.
Martín-de Castro, G.,
Amores-Salvadó, J., Na-
vas-López, J.E.
Corporate Social
Responsibility and
Environmental management systems; Environmental pol-
icy; Firm performance; Green corporate im-
age; ISO 14001; Natural resource-based view; Stakeholder
14 Husted, B.W., Montiel, I.,
Christmann, P. 2016
Journal of Interna-
tional Business
Corporate social responsibility; Emerging markets/coun-
tries/economies; Geographic distance; Liability of foreign-
ness; Location strategy.
Campos, L.M.S., De Melo
Heizen, D.A., Verdinelli,
M.A., Cauchick Miguel,
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical EMS; Environmental management system; Environmental
performance indicators; ISO 14001; Survey research.
16 Nguyen, Q.A., Hens, L. 2015
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical Cement; Environmental management systems; Environmen-
tal performance; ISO 14001; Vietnam.
17 Lee, V.-H., Ooi, K.-B.,
Chong, A.Y.-L., Lin, B. 2015
Production Plan-
ning and Control Empirical Competitive advantage; Environmental performance; Green-
ing the supplier; Malaysia.
18 Zorpas, A.A. 2020
Science of the To-
tal Environment Review
Circular economy; European Green Deal; LCA; PESTEL
analysis; Prevention strategy; Strategy development; SWOT
analysis; Waste strategy; Zero waste approach.
19 Heras-Saizarbitoria, I.,
Arana, G., Boiral, O. 2016
Business Strategy
and the Environ-
Empirical EMAS; environmental management; environmental man-
agement systems; ISO 14001; Spain.
20 Arimura, T.H., Darnall, N.,
Ganguli, R., Katayama, H. 2016
Journal of Environ-
mental Manage-
Certification program; Discrete choice model; Endogene-
ity; Environmental performance; ISO 14001, environmental
management system; Voluntary environmental program.
21 Vijayvargy, L., Thakkar,
J., Agarwal, G. 2017
Journal of Manu-
facturing Technol-
ogy Management
Empirical Emerging economies; Empirical study; Green supply chain
management; Organizational size.
Oliveira, J.A., Oliveira,
O.J., Ometto, A.R., Fer-
raudo, A.S., Salgado, M.H.
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical Cleaner production; Environmental management system; In-
dustrial companies; ISO 14001.
23 Su, H.-C., Dhanorkar, S.,
Linderman, K. 2015
Journal of Opera-
tions Management Empirical Absorptive capacity; Competitive strategy; Early mover ad-
vantage; ISO 14001; ISO 9001; Management standards.
24 Ikram, M., Zhang, Q.,
Sroufe, R., Shah, S.Z.A. 2020
Sustainable Pro-
duction and Con-
Empirical CO2; Emission; GRA; Grey TOPSIS; ISO 14001; Renewa-
ble energy; Sustainability.
25 Iatridis, K., Kesidou, E. 2018
Journal of Business
Empirical (quali-
Economic crisis; Environmental management; Greece; Inter-
nalization; ISO 14001; Motivations.
Nunhes, T.V., Ferreira
Motta, L.C., de Oliveira,
Journal of Cleaner
Production Review Integrated management system; ISO 14001; ISO 9001; Man-
agement systems; OHSAS 18001.
Shaharudin, M.R., Go-
vindan, K., Zailani,
S., Tan, K.C., Iranmanesh,
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical Activities; Closed-loop supply chains; Effectiveness; Prod-
uct returns; Reverse supply chains.
28 Singh, M., Brueckner, M.,
Padhy, P.K. 2015
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical
Environmental management systems; Environmental perfor-
mance; ISO 140001; Policies; Small and medium-sized en-
terprises; Waste minimisation.
29 Ikram, M., Mahmoudi, A.,
Shah, S.Z.A., Mohsin, M. 2019
Environmental Sci-
ence and Pollution
Empirical Competitive advantage; Doubling time; Environmental sus-
tainability; Forecasting; ISO 14001; Relative growth rate
30 da Fonseca, L.M.C.M. 2015
Journal of Indus-
trial Engineering
and Management
Review Environmental management systems; ISO 14001 revision;
Standardization; Sustainability.
Jabbour, C.J.C, Seuring,
S., Lopes de Sousa Jab-
bour, A.B., (...), Latan, H.,
Izeppi, W.C.
Journal of Environ-
mental Manage-
Empirical Circular economy; Stakeholders; Sustainable business mod-
els; Sustainable innovation; Sustainable performance.
32 Ahmed, W., Najmi, A. 2018
Management of
Quality: An Inter-
national Journal
External green collaboration; Green supply chain manage-
ment; Institutional pressures; Internal green practices; Struc-
tural equation modelling.
33 Hojnik, J., Ruzzier, M.,
Manolova, T.S. 2018
Journal of Cleaner
Production Empirical Eco-innovation; Firm performance; Internationaliza-
tion; ISO14001; Mediating effect; Sustainability.
34 Xu, X.D., Zeng, S.X., Zou,
H.L., Shi, J.J. 2016
Business Strategy
and the Environ-
Empirical Environmental violation events; Event study; Media cover-
age; Shareholders' wealth.
Salim, H.K., Padfield, R.,
Hansen, S.B., (...), Tham,
M.H., Papargyropoulou, E.
Journal of Cleaner
Production Review Bibliometric analysis; Environmental management system;
ISO 14001; Multi-stakeholder framework; Thematic trends.
Note: Sorted from highest to lowest number of citations.
*Govindan et al. (2015) was also reported in Table 2
In the past seven years, the most used keywords included: ISO 14001 (224); Environmen-
tal Management (150); Environmental Management Systems (98); Sustainable Development
(66); Sustainability (64); Environmental Management System (59); Environmental Perfor-
mance (57); Certification (51); ISO 9001 (42) and EMAS (28).
This extended list indicated that there were much fewer contributions whose keywords
were focused on society’s contentious sustainability issues including climate change (9), pol-
lution (7), carbon footprint (6) and greenhouse gas emissions (5), among other topics.
Furthermore, the search results (between 2015-2021) indicated that there were 95 docu-
ments results when the keywords “ISO “14001” AND “Benefits”, and just 56 documents were
retrieved when “ISO 14001” AND “Costs” were inserted in the query.
4. A benefit-cost analysis of ISO 14001
4.1 Benefits
The findings revealed that practitioners developed, implemented, managed, coordinated
and monitored their environmental activities to improve their competitive position/competitive
advantage (Ikram et al., 2019; Hojnik et al., 2018; Oliveira et al., 2016;) and profitability (Del-
mas, 2002). Standards like ISO 14001 are meant to support organizations in the development
of environmental objectives, delegation of responsibilities, the provision of training and devel-
opment, as well as in formulating performance management audits (Santos, Rebelo, Lopes,
Alves & Silva, 2016; Bernardo et al., 2015; Da Fonseca, 2015; Delmas, 2002; Hojnik et al.,
2018; Hsu et al., 2013; Nunhes et al., 2016; Oliveira et al., 2016; Su et al., 2015). ISO has
created a system whereby third-party auditors can certify the organizations’ conformity with
relevant environmental standards. Practitioners can use ISO 14001 as a framework to evaluate
their environmental practices and externalities. They can compare them across various indus-
tries and jurisdictions (Boiral et al., 2018).
4.1.1 ISO 14001 raises awareness on compliance requirements with relevant legislation
ISO 14001 can help organizations to embed environmental management issues in their
corporate strategies and in their day-to-day operations. Businesses can use its substantive en-
vironment management systems to adopt beyond-compliance measures. They could even an-
ticipate their jurisdiction’s regulatory requirements (Boiral et al., 2018; Husted et al., 2016) (to
confirm that they are reducing their pollution levels for the purpose of avoiding sanctions).
They may follow ISO 14001 guidelines to better identify certain aspects of their organization’s
activities to determine their significance, priorities and impact on the environment.
4.1.2 ISO 14001 can facilitate planning, organization, leadership and control of environmental
management systems
Practitioners can establish a program to implement environment management policies
(with a disciplined process of evaluating and achieving target performance levels) while seek-
ing continuous improvements (Camilleri, 2019b, Delmas, 2001; Santos, et al., 2016; Sha-
harudin et al., 2017; Vijayvargy et al., 2017). They are bound to increase the involvement of
their managers and have to delegate employees with a clear assignment of duties, to pursue
responsible environmental behaviors. Organizational leaders should allocate relevant resources
and foster facilitating conditions to implement ISO 14001, including the provision of ongoing
training and development to employees, to achieve the standards’ underlying objectives, in-
cluding increasing operational efficiencies and cost savings (Camilleri, 2021b). They are ex-
pected to regularly review and audit their environment management systems and to identify
opportunities for improvement, in terms of environmental performance.
4.1.3 ISO 14001 can be used to monitor and reduce externalities including pollution and emis-
The standard’s certification ought to confirm that practitioners are implementing responsible
practices to improve their facilities’ environmental performance, by reducing their pollution
emissions (Garrido, González & Orcos, 2020; Ikram et al., 2020; Oliveira et al., 2016; Poto-
ski & Prakash, 2005a, 2005b, Prakash & Potoski, 2006). ISO 14001 clearly identifies the op-
erational requirements that have to be taken on board by companies to minimize their envi-
ronmental impact, by reducing pollution and emissions (Su et al., 2015).
4.1.4 ISO 14001 can be used to establish and maintain ongoing communications with stake-
Practitioners are expected to utilize ISO 14001 to raise awareness about their environment
management systems with interested parties. Their corporate communications can help them
alleviate their constituents’ concerns about environmental performance. Like other standards,
the development of ISO 14001 facilitates exchanges and communications among a wide array
of stakeholders (Da Fonseca, 2015; Nunhes et al., 2016; Salim et al., 2018; Su et al., 2015).
4.1.5 ISO 14001 can used to increase the legitimacy of practitioners in society
The adoption of environmental management practices can improve corporate reputation
and may enhance the practitioners’ transparency credentials with stakeholders (Da Fonseca,
2015; Oliveira et al., 2016; Su, et al., 2015). Firms can manage their legitimacy by conveying
(material) information regarding operational improvements in their processes and by clearly
demonstrating their ongoing commitment to the environment (Camilleri, 2021b; Mtapuri, Ca-
milleri & Dłużewska, 2021; Santos et al., 2016).
4.1.6 ISO 14001 can create shared value to corporate financial performance and to the envi-
Previous research indicated that stakeholders recognized (and awarded) practitioners for
their environmental performance credentials. Very often, responsible corporate environmental
practices led to a positive financial performance (Martínde Castro et al., 2017) and to a signif-
icant increase in the companies’ stock market values (Shaharudin et al., 2017; Su et al., 2018).
Eco-efficient companies are increasingly rewarding their shareholders with a greater return on
investment (Melnyk et al., 2003). Notwithstanding, investing firms are recommending positive
impact, financial portfolios that are based on the firms’ environmental records (Camilleri,
2021c; Su et al., 2018).
Green supply chain initiatives have a direct impact on the firms’ performance outcomes
as well as on their external environment (Miroshnychenko et al., 2017; Vijayvargy et al., 2017).
Businesses can safeguard the natural environment by reducing the utilization of raw materials,
by minimizing waste from manufacturing processes, and by reusing “waste” resources when
designing products (Camilleri, 2019a, 2020, Scur & Barbosa, 2017; Delmas, 2002; Shaharudin,
et al., 2017; Souza & Alves, 2018; Vijayvargy et al., 2017). Such responsible behaviors can
also translate to economic benefits, operational efficiencies and less costs for the producers of
goods (Curkovic & Sroufe, 2011; Govindan et al., 2015; Iatridis & Kesidou, 2018; Laosiri-
hongthong et al., 2013; Scur et al., 2017; Souza & Alves, 2018
Teixeira et al., 2016). Previous
research confirmed that the businesses’ credentials in corporate environmental performance
can improve the value of their firm (Kong et al., 2015) and could be in a better position to
attract new shareholders (Angelia & Suryaningsih, 2015; HerasSaizarbitoria et al., 2016).
4.2 Costs
4.2.1 ISO 14001 requires significant investments in time and money
Prospective practitioners ought to consider the opportunity costs before implementing ISO
14001. They have to ascertain whether it would be profitable for their company to invest re-
sources, in terms of time and money, before committing themselves to certify their facilities
(Delmas & Toffel, 2008). Failure to comply can result in fines (in some jurisdictions) for not
meeting the environmental standards’ criteria, as well as in increased interventions from the
part of regulators (Melnyk et al., 2003). The certification of ISO 14001 would necessitate that
organizations pay an initiation fee as well as ongoing membership dues. They are expected to
adhere to the requirements of the substantive standard and for annual recertification audits
(Potoski & Prakash, 2005).
4.2.2 Lack of information on the difference between certified and uncertified ISO 14001
Little is known about how outsiders interpret the certification of voluntary standards (Ari-
mura et al., 2016;
Camilleri, 2019b; Husted et al., 2016). Although ISO 14001 maps out an
assurance mechanism for effective environment management systems; it does not clarify the
exact requirements (in detail) on how to obtain its certification. ISO clearly specifies that this
generic standard can be used by any organization (in any industry) that wants to improve its
resource efficiency and cost savings, minimize waste, emissions and pollution to the environ-
ment (Eltayeb et al., 2011; Hsu et al., 2013; Melnyk et al., 2003; Morrow & Rondinelli, 2002;
Nunhes et al., 2016; Shaharudin, et al., 2017).
ISO 14001 does not constrain the operations of practitioners although they may be pres-
surized by institutions and by other stakeholders to adopt certified management standards.
Therefore, businesses are encouraged to certify their premises to conform to acceptable
environmental practices. Such certification would enable them to prove their social license to
operate (Demuijnck & Fasterling, 2016; Hsu et al., 2013; Soewarno et al., 2019; Wilburn &
Wilburn, 2011).
4.2.3 Stakeholders exert their pressures on corporate businesses and organizations to adopt
environmental management practices
Organizations may be intrigued to adopt ISO 14001 to appease different stakeholders in-
cluding governments, activists, local communities, trade associations, investors, and custom-
ers, each of which possess their own culture, interests and conception of legitimate environ-
mental management practices (Ahmed & Najmi, 2018; Bansal & Bogner, 2002; Colwell &
Joshi, 2013; Delmas & Toffel, 2008). Previous research indicated that many companies partic-
ipate in such environment management programs to forge closer relationships with the govern-
ment and its agencies (Clemens & Douglas, 2005; Delmas, 2002; Jabbour et al., 2020; Morrow
& Rondinelli, 2002).
Practitioners may experience institutional pressures during periods of uncertainty, before
formalizing their organizations’ environmental practices in corporate social responsibility re-
ports (or when they are preparing their integrated disclosures of financial and non-financial
performance) that they may have to submit to regulatory authorities (Ntim & Soobaroyen,
2013; Testa et al., 2018).
4.2.4 ISO 14001 necessitates continuous commitment from the part of management and em-
Organizational leaders are expected to communicate with management and employees
about their environmental management compliance objectives and strategies (Testa et al., 2018;
Santos et al., 2016; Zorpas, 2020). They have to clarify their courses of action before applying
for ISO 14001 certification, whilst they are implementing it, and when they are measuring and
controlling its effectiveness (Latan et al., 2018). Hence, they should organize training and de-
velopment opportunities for their members of staff, to instill their motivation to pursue cultural
changes, and to foster continuous improvements in environmentally responsible behaviors
(Boiral, 2007; Colwell & Joshi, 2013; Heras-Saizarbitoria & Boiral, 2013; Jabbour, 2015).
Employees ought to be incentivized to contribute to the achievement of their organizations’
environmental performance targets
(Abdul-Rashid et al., 2017; Agan et al., 2016; Darnall,
2006; Jacobs et al., 2010; Ljungberg, 2007; Potoski & Prakash, 2005; Rennings et al., 2006;
Russo, 2009; Testa et al., 2014; Zailani et al., 2012).
4.2.5 Lack of consensus on the actual effectiveness of ISO 14001
Various academic commentators clearly pointed out that there are different shades of opin-
ion on the effectiveness of ISO 14001 (Boiral et al., 2018; Iatridis & Kesidou, 2018; Testa, et
al., 2018; Zorpas, 2020). This environment management standard comprises a set of principles
and guidelines that may be perceived as a ‘rational myth’ that spurs the organizations’ ‘cere-
monial behaviors’ (Nunhes et al., 2016). Many researchers argued that although ISO 14001
provides a certification from an independent body about the existence of an environmental
management system, this voluntary instrument does not necessarily translate to superior per-
formance (Arimura, Darnall & Katayama, 2011; Boiral et al., 2018; Prakash & Potoski, 2006).
Under these circumstances, ISO’s norms may not always play a significant role in promoting
environmentally responsible behaviors, unless businesses are compelled by regulatory author-
ities to adopt ISO 14001’s standardized practices and to report about their performance in cor-
porate non-financial disclosures (Camilleri, 2015b; EU 2021).
5. Conclusions and implications
This research reported that ISO 14001’s environment management systems can be em-
ployed by small, medium or large businesses operating in various industry sectors, in different
contexts. A thorough literature review revealed that the adoption of ISO 14001 may be trig-
gered by institutions and stakeholders. The governments and their regulatory authorities can
exert their pressures on organizations to follow their rules, norms and ethical principles.
The practitioners’ compliance with legislation, regulatory guidelines and principles can
increase their legitimacy among stakeholders and could validate their social license to operate.
Hence, there is scope for businesses and other organizations to be proactive by anticipating
legislation. This way, they can achieve a competitive advantage by proving their environmental
credentials with stakeholders.
The systematic review suggested that compliance with ISO 14001 may result in a number
of benefits to practitioners like improving their facilities’ environmental performance through
resource efficiencies. At the same time, they could minimize their externalities to the environ-
ment. This research confirmed that such certifiable standards, can create synergistic value to
the businesses’ financial performance and to the environment. It reported that green supply
chain initiatives as well as a better utilization of resources and waste management practices
may translate to lower costs and to an improved financial performance.
In many cases, several authors clarified that practitioners could enhance their environmen-
tal management through waste reduction, circular economy approaches, increased productivi-
ties (cost savings, improved systemization practices and management control, improved em-
ployee results, reduction in mistakes and rework, shorter lead times) and the like. Other re-
search reported that the practitioners’ environmental credentials resulted in an improved cor-
porate image among external stakeholders including customers, suppliers and regulatory au-
Notwithstanding, this contribution suggested that it is in the interest of practitioners to
communicate about their adoption of prescriptive environmental management systems and to
shed light on their environmental performance. Their corporate environmental disclosures can
boost their reputation, increase their trustworthiness and credibility among stakeholders, par-
ticularly if they promote their environmentally responsible behaviors through different media
whilst forging relationships with different stakeholders.
On the other hand, various researchers noted that the main obstacles to ISO 14001 certifi-
cation are related to high certification costs, superficial adoption, an increase in paperwork and
red tape, time constraints, as well as the employees’ resistance to change, and/or their lack of
capabilities to comply with the standard’s requirements, among other
Very often, they argued that the implementation of ISO 14001 would necessitate an ongoing
support and commitment from the part of managers as well as the involvement of employees,
to integrate the standard’s environment management systems with existing practices.
Organizational leaders who are considering the introduction of such environment systems
are expected to communicate about their strategic plans with their management and members
of staff. They have to motivate and incentivize each employee to achieve their corporate ob-
jectives and environmental performance targets.
Limitations and future research directions
Previous studies examined the stakeholders’ perceptions about different aspects of ISO
14001, including on the implementation of ISO 14001, internal management support, inte-
grated management systems, supply chain management, et cetera. Very often, their data was
collected from employees and managers of certified entities.
This systematic review appraises previous articles that were focused on environment man-
agement systems. It reported some of the most cited papers since 1995, where it identified the
authors, the publication outlets and the type of methodology that was used to capture the data.
In addition, it indicated the keywords that were related to the articles’ topics. Furthermore, this
contribution provided a synthesis of the findings as it clarified the benefits and costs of using
ISO 14001’s environment management systems.
This contribution implies that for the time being, just a few contributions explored how,
where and when organizations were using ISO14001to address the latest global challenges in-
cluding the effects of waste and pollution on climate change. For example, the systematic anal-
yses revealed that few articles sought to explore how ISO 14001 could be used to minimize the
carbon footprint and/or greenhouse gas emissions.
This paper calls for further empirical studies that rely on quantitative and/or qualitative
approaches as well as discursive and/or theoretical papers on environment management sys-
tems and their related topics. Prospective research can utilize different research methods, sam-
pling frames and analytical techniques to investigate the impacts of certified organizations and
the efficacy of their performance indicators in different contexts. There is scope to shed more
light on the companies’ environmental credentials, particularly those operating in growing
economies like China. A recent ISO survey indicated that China represented 48.25% (almost
half) of the total ISO 14001 certifications that were issued in 2020 (ISO, 2021). Perhaps, lon-
gitudinal studies may be used to provide a better understanding of the long-term effects of ISO
14001 on the organizations’ economic and operational performance in different industry sec-
Acknowledgements: The author thanks the editor as well as the four reviewers for their con-
structive remarks and suggestions.
Conflicts of Interest: The author declares no conflict of interest.
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... The first one is the thrust of deterrence, which would induce environmental proactivity among firms in a regulated subnational region. Pertaining to this channel, Camilleri (2022) has reported a positive role of environmental regulation in CEC-related variables. The second channel is that of selection dynamics. ...
... This isomorphism is unique in each subnational region due to the differentiated stakeholders' expectations (Cormier & Gomez-Gutierrez, 2018). When a region has high compliance with the standards of the like of ISO 140001 certification, unique environment is presented for the role congruence of females in terms of environmental management (Camilleri, 2022). To capture mimetic institutions, we used the aggregate compliance of firms with ISO 140001 certification in a specific subnational region. ...
... This solves the counterintuitive dilemma of the main results regarding mimetic isomorphism. The findings are in line with the studies concerning peer effect in terms of environmental behaviors and corporate governance constructs under the purview of national-level and international-level institutional fields (Camilleri, 2022;Ullah et al., 2022). industry level meso-context , and national level macro-context (Zaman et al., 2022). ...
Within the expanding literature on the interplay of corporate governance and corporate environmental behavior, this study introspects the contrastingly reported relationship between board gender diversity (BGD) and Corporate Environmental Commitment (CEC). It empirically explores the moderating effect of coercive (regulation stringency), normative (ethical standards), and mimetic pressures (following of peers), derived from the provincial level isomorphic exhibition of neo-institutional theory, in the A-share Chinese listed firms. Apart from confirming the aggregate level positive association between the variables, the findings also highlight the moderating effect of subnational institutional pressures on the relationship. While ruling out the endogeneity and establishing the robustness, the findings imply that the interplay of sub-national institutional isomorphism and corporate governance in the case of BGD-CEC relationship are likely both pertinent and prevalent. Moreover, the increase in BGD enhances the CEC of a firm, subject to the fulfilment of a province’s specific boundary conditions, predefined by the unique set of subnational institutional pressures.
... Notwithstanding, employers rely on their employees' support to reduce their impact on the natural environment. They train employees to engage in responsible behaviors such as recycling and circular economy practices to minimize waste and emissions (Geissdoerfer, Savaget, Bocken & Hultink, 2017) by adopting regulatory instruments and certifiable standards (Camilleri, 2022). For instance, companies could invest in sustainable technological innovations to generate electricity through renewable sources. ...
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[Call for Papers] "Recent Advances in Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions on Sustainable Business Models" The accepted papers will be published in a special issue of Sustainability (IF: 3.889: CiteScore 5.0). Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2023 Strategic corporate social responsibility (strategic CSR) is a profit maximization strategy that is evidenced when businesses engage in socially and environmentally responsible activities that are economically sound for their financial performance. This strategic approach is synonymous with a number of value-based theoretical underpinnings relating to corporate social performance including ‘The Triple Bottom Line’, ‘The Supply and Demand Theory of the Firm’, ‘Positive Synergy’, ‘The Base of Pyramid’, ‘Value Creation through Social Strategy’, ‘The Win-Win Perspective for CSR practices’, ‘Creating Shared Value’, and to ‘The Virtuous Circles’ perspectives, among others. The fundamental motivation behind these contributions is that strategic CSR practices and stakeholder engagement can generate economic value for the businesses (Camilleri, 2021; Lantos, 2001; Centobelli et al., 2022). Corporate social and environmentally responsible behaviors are usually triggered by the businesses’ stakeholders (Freeman, Phillips & Sisodia, 2020; Siltaloppi, Rajala & Hietala, 2021). Hence, there is scope for commercial organizations to forge relationships with them, particularly with the regulatory ones. For-profit organizations including multinational corporations will usually comply with the relevant legislation where they operate their business. They may even follow ethical practices, adopt responsible human resource management policies, and invest in green technologies to gain institutional legitimacy, create competitive advantages, and to increase their profits. Various researchers noticed that strategic CSR activities can enhance the businesses’ corporate reputation and image among customers and marketplace stakeholders. At the same time, they may even improve their corporate financial performance. The companies' ethical dispositions can also have a significant effect on the companies’ internal stakeholders. For example, fair and trustworthy employers consistently engage in socially responsible behaviors with their human resources. They look after their employees’ wellbeing, by improving working environments, involving them in decision making, and providing them career progression prospects as well as continuous professional training and development opportunities, to improve their competences. Previous studies heavily supported responsible human resources management initiatives as they lead to lower turnovers and increase morale and job satisfaction among employees. As a matter of fact, employees are more productive if they are motivated in their workplace environments (Camilleri, 2021). Notwithstanding, employers rely on their employees’ support to reduce their impact on the natural environment. They train employees to engage in responsible behaviors such as recycling and circular economy practices to minimize waste and emissions (Geissdoerfer, Savaget, Bocken & Hultink, 2017) by adopting regulatory instruments and certifiable standards (Camilleri, 2022). For instance, companies could invest in sustainable technological innovations to generate electricity through renewable sources. Alternatively, they may install water conservation systems to reduce their impact on the environment. Such responsible initiatives could result in significant operational efficiencies and cost-saving opportunities for the businesses themselves, whilst reducing their externalities on the environment. The editors of this Special Issue are calling for original theoretical and empirical articles that are consistent with strategic CSR approaches. Prospective authors are invited to submit contributions that rely on different methodologies and perspectives on a wide variety of topics relating to the business case for CSR and stakeholder engagement. They may submit manuscripts on the following topics, among others: • Business strategies that promote environmental responsibility; • Business strategies that promote stakeholder engagement; • Circular economy business models; • Circular economy technologies; • Closed loop systems; • Corporate environmental management; • Corporate environmental policy; • Corporate environmental strategy; • Corporate environmental sustainability; • Corporate responsibility strategy; • Energy efficiency; • Environmental technologies; • Product-service systems; • Recycling resources; • Renewable resources; • Resource efficiency; • Responsible human resources management; • Responsible procurement practices; • Responsible supply chains; • Sustainable transportation options; • Sustainable consumption; • Sustainable production; • Sustainable technologies; • The promotion of responsible practices; • Waste management; • Water conservation.
... They are meant to support organizations in the development of environmental objectives, delegation of responsibilities, the provision of training and development, as well as in formulating performance management audits. Those standards are setting up a guideline framework for practitioners to evaluate their environmental practices and externalities [44][45][46][47][48][49][50]. ...
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The circular economy (CE) has become an important issue within the European Union due to the Green Deal regulations. A CE makes sustainable development feasible by creating value in the economy and by closing the energy and materials loops. The aim of the study is to predict the most effective functioning of CEs at the macro-level by the selection of the best possible requirements addressed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as an extension supplement of a voluntary environmental management system—ISO 14001. For such aim, researchers developed a two-stage Delphi study. According to the performed Delphi study, the main conclusion is that a more circular management system is possible and needed in SME organizations. Two ISO 14001 sub-requirements were considered as definitely contributing to the implementation of the CE concept at the macro- and meso-levels. Those were: The scope of the CE system and communication. The most discussed requirements that should be further studied in that context were internal audits and managerial reviews. The most difficult goals to implement by SMEs were: limiting the use of primary raw materials, striving for the implementation of climate neutrality and sustainable development as well as closing the material loop.
... The ISO 14000 group of standards was created by the ISO Technical Committee (i.e., ISO/TC) and its miscellaneous subcommittees and provides useful tools for businesses and organizations of all types, with the intention to manage their environmental accountabilities. In particular, ISO 14001:2015 and its several supplementary standards (such as ISO 14006:2011) focus on environmental systems to attain these accountabilities [41]. The rest of the standards in the family are focused on explicit activities, such as communications, life cycle analysis, audits, labeling, and environmental challenges (for instance, climate change). ...
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The implementation of an international management system (IMS) in any organization (or part thereof) creates an efficient framework regarding the sustainable development and the review of processes required to manage occupational safety and health (OSH) efficaciously. Moreover, Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) standards identify requirements regarding OSH management systems, with the aim of enabling an organization to adopt dynamic policy and objectives that take into consideration lawful requirements relating to OSH risks (e.g., safe and healthy workplaces, prevention of work-related injuries, etc.). This article extends the research and the results of a previous study of ours and comparatively presents (a) the main IMS standards concerning OSHMS and (b) the statistical results and new findings of an updated literature survey for additional time intervals (i.e., the years 1995–2005 and 2018–2020), ultimately covering the entire period of the years 1995–2020. Thus, the main targets of the study were (i) the implementation and comparative presentation of OSHMS standards, (ii) the reinforcement of their application at the worksites of any organization, and (iii) the development of a new ameliorated OSH management system model based on the knowledge from the literature review. On the other hand, some dominant results and findings are the following: (a) The industrial sector and construction sector demonstrate the highest percentage of OSHMS utilization. (b) The OHSAS 18001 standard remains the most frequent OSHMS standard even though, despite the fact that the ISO 45001:2018 is a recently developed OSHMS, it presents a considerable percentage distribution with reference to the total OSHMS articles despite its brief lifespan. (c) An effectual IMS OSHMS must merge various management systems, such as OSH (safety and health), QMS (quality), and EMS (environmental). (d) Organizations and businesses of any kind and any size can certainly develop and implement OSHMS standards. (e) Some substantial barriers to the implementation of an OSHMS standard are the high cost vis à vis implementation and management, the difficulty for the employees to realize its significance in OSH, and the complicatedness of combining different standards. (f) Occupational epidemiology must be one of the main features of an OSHMS standard. (g) Governments, employers, and employees admit day after day that the effectiveness of applying OSHMS standards at the organization level is considerable for decreasing the occupational hazards and risks and also for raising productivity.
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Corporations use global sustainability reporting principles, certifications, guidelines, and indices to promote corporate transparency. However, the effectiveness of adopting these global transparency approaches, either separately or collectively, in increasing firm value is as yet unclear. Thus, we examine whether different global transparency approaches engender different outcomes related to firm value and whether adopting a comprehensive or integrated global transparency approach could better enhance firm value. We use a sample comprising 6978 firm‐year observations of firms listed in the United States (S&P 500), Canada (S&P‐TSX 221), and the United Kingdom (FTSE 350) from 2013 to 2019. A fixed‐effects regression model is then used to examine the primary associations in this study. This technique was complemented by a two‐step dynamic generalised method of moment (GMM) model to overcome the expected endogeneity concerns. Our findings indicate that adopting global sustainability reporting principles, certifications, and an integrated global transparency approach is positively attributable to the market value of firms. In contrast, firms' adoption of international guidelines and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings cannot predict the firm value in the study context. Our evidence implies that firms' adoption of an integrated global transparency approach adds the most value to those firms when compared with adopting a standalone transparency approach across the three sampled countries. Our study provides practical implications for policymakers and corporate managers and suggests avenues for future studies to build upon our findings.
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To date, few researchers have linked open innovation approaches with triple bottom line corporate sustainability objectives in terms of economic, social, and environmental performance. A systematic review suggests that the businesses' collaborative relationships with external consultants or organizations can increase their competitive advantage, as external stakeholders could assist them in the development of sustainable innovations, diversification into different markets, and in the generation of new revenue streams. At the same time, they can support them in addressing numerous deficits in society. On the other hand, this contribution implies that an organizational culture that promotes open innovation approaches could expose practitioners to risks and uncertainties, like revealing sensitive information to outsiders, among others. In reality, it may prove difficult for the businesses to trust new partners, as they are not subject to their organizations' codes of conduct, rules, and regulations. K E Y W O R D S corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability, creating shared value, open innovation, stakeholder engagement, strategic CSR
The combined effect of coercion (public and private pressure), self‐interest (competitive advantage) and conviction (intrinsically motivated or genuine) explain why environmental issues have become a key priority for companies. While research has explored coercion and competitive advantage, the role of conviction has received little attention. This paper aims to address this gap. Conviction, which has been correlated with institutional and individual drivers, offers more stable results and a potential multiplier effect as good examples are disseminated by imitation throughout an industry. While the role of imitation has drawn increasing attention of business management studies, it has received scant attention in research on sustainability. This is the second gap this paper aims to address, contributing to the literature on sustainability in two ways: firstly, we will further explore the role of conviction in environmental sustainability; secondly, employing a compartmental model of epidemic propagation, used for other social phenomena, we model the role genuine examples by leaders can play within an industry and the dissemination of good behavior by imitation. Defining genuine conviction as the voluntary mitigation of the externalities of a firm's operations beyond that required by law or the market, substantiated in the responsible behavior of its leaders, our model discovers patterns that policymakers could use to create a “sustainability epidemic”. We suggest mathematical models of epidemics can be applied to sustainability, offering a fresh perspective on the phenomenon of imitation, allowing us to discover how some cultural and social habits can be used.
The factors behind the adoption of ISO 14000 certification by Indian organized manufacturing plants are examined using the Annual Survey of Industries unit-level data for 2016–2018, with supplementary analyses undertaken using such data for 2008–2010 and 2008–2015. While observing that a change in the export status of a plant from non-exporting to exporting will raise its probability of adopting ISO 14000 certification by about 20 percent, the paper also identifies that other plant-level characteristics like size, fuel intensity, financial ability, presence of foreign equity, R&D activity, and adequate managerial staff strength are some of the important drivers of the adoption of ISO 14000 certification. The paper finds that while exporting enhances the probability of adoption of ISO 14000 certification, the probability goes down beyond an export share in the production of 80 percent. The paper adds to the literature by disentangling the pecuniary objectives vis-à-vis the role of environmental and social consciousness of plants’ management in driving the adoption of ISO 14000 certification.
Full-text available Resumen: En este artículo, se realizan una serie de análisis en torno a los instrumentos de fomento de la calidad ambiental basados en la implantación de sistemas de gestión ambiental de carácter voluntario que dan lugar al otorgamiento a las organizaciones de certificaciones ambientales o de etiquetas ecológicas para sus productos y servicios. El artículo toma como referencia la Norma ISO 14001, exponiendo su contenido, así como el proceso de certificación en base a la misma. A partir de ahí, reflexiona sobre las ventajas y beneficios que se derivan de los sistemas de gestión ambiental, las certificaciones ambientales y las etiquetas ecológicas tanto para las organizaciones como para la comunidad en general, y la conveniencia de articular medidas que incentiven su implantación por parte de los poderes públicos. Por último, se exponen, en tono crítico, algunos elementos negativos que traen consigo estos sistemas, muy especialmente, el riesgo de “greenwashing”. Abstract: In this paper, a series of analysis are carried out on those instruments conceived to promote environmental quality based on the implantation of non-mandatory Environmental Management Systems (EMS) that lead to environmental certifications for organizations or ecolabels for their products and services. The paper takes ISO 14001 as a frame of reference, describing its content and the process of certification based on that international standard. Then, the paper exposes the advantages and benefits of the EMS, environmental certifications and ecolabels, and how important it is to promote its adoption by public authorities. Last but not least, the paper considers some negative elements that those systems can bring, such as the risk of greenwashing. Palabras clave: Calidad ambiental. Sistemas de Gestión Ambiental (SGA). Norma ISO 14001. Certificaciones ambientales. Etiquetas ecológicas. Contratación pública ecológica. EMAS. Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC). Programas de cumplimiento normativo. Keywords: Environmental quality. Environmental Management Systems (EMS). ISO 14001. Environmental certifications. Ecolabels. Green public procurement. Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). ENAC. Compliance programs.
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This contribution suggests that community-based tourism (CBT) can create commercial and social value to destinations, local businesses as well as to residents. At the same time, it clarifies that CBT offers rich, immersive cultural experiences that can enhance the tourists’ experiences when visiting different communities. It posits that sustainable CBT approaches can improve the local economic development (LED) of communities by reducing economic leakages from the tourism industry. It explains that there is scope for destination managers and tourism businesses to engage in sustainable tourism practices and to utilize local resources, in a strategic manner, in order to maximize linkages in their economy. In conclusion, this paper puts forward a theoretical model that clearly illustrates the business case to implement sustainable CBT strategies. It also implies that these strategies can ultimately result in opportunities for economic growth of tourism businesses and may increase the competitiveness of destinations, whilst safeguarding the environment and addressing their carrying capacities.
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Generally, businesses are capable of implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmentally sustainable behaviors as they pursue their profit-making activities. While there are a number of contributions that investigated the effect of CSR and responsible environmental practices on the companies' bottom lines, few studies were focused on the strategic attributions of responsible corporate behaviors in the tourism industry context, during an unprecedented pandemic situation. Hence this research investigates the stakeholders' perceptions on the hospitality businesses' social responsibility and environmentally friendly practices. The data were collected from a sample of 462 research participants who worked in tourism and hospitality. The findings suggest that their employers' stakeholders were triggering their businesses to engage in ethical behaviors, responsible human resources management and to invest in environmentally friendly initiatives. As a result, they were creating value to their companies, to society and to the natural environment. In sum, this contribution implies that there are strategic attributions of CSR behaviors and of environmentally sustainable practices as responsible businesses can improve their growth prospects and increase their competitiveness in the long run.
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Although previous researchers have explored the circular economy practices of different businesses in various contexts, currently, there are still a few contributions that are focused on the sustainable preparation and consumption of food in the tourism and hospitality industry context. Hence, this paper sheds light on case studies from hotels, restaurants, and cafes that are located in urban tourist destinations. This research suggests that catering businesses can implement a number of responsible initiatives by introducing preventative measures and recycling practices to curb food loss and the generation of waste. In conclusion, this contribution implies that there is scope for regulatory authorities and policymakers to encourage hospitality practitioners to engage in circular economy approaches and to incentivize them to minimize food waste in tourism cities.
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Although green bonds are becoming increasingly popular in the corporate finance practice, little is known about their implications and effectiveness in terms of issuers' environmental engagement. With the use of matched bond‐issuer data, we test whether green bond issues are associated to a reduction in total and direct (Scope 1) emissions of nonfinancial companies. We find that, compared with conventional bond issuers with similar financial characteristics and environmental ratings, green issuers display a decrease in the carbon intensity of their assets after borrowing on the green segment. The decrease in emissions is more pronounced, significant and long‐lasting when we exclude green bonds with refinancing purposes, which is consistent with an increase in the volume of climate‐friendly activities due to new projects. We also find a larger reduction in emissions in case of green bonds that have external review, as well as those issued after the Paris Agreement.
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Through the lens of legitimacy theory and starting from Habermas’s communication theory the paper aims to extend and contribute to the research fields related to the quality of social and environmental disclosure and corporate legitimacy by focusing on firms’ environmental reporting credibility. The study proposes an operationalization of the corporate environmental reporting credibility concept identifying possible determinants, related measurements and indicators. Through a content analysis we have measured the credibility of non-financial reports of 152 business entities that, in accordance with the Italian law, published for the first time in 2018, at a mandatory level, social and environmental reports. The results show a good level of credibility in Italian reporting context and in particular a high level of understandability, but a low level of exhaustivity. Findings highlight also the important role of experience in voluntary non-financial reporting, the use of stand-alone document and the belonging to an ESI in influencing the credibility of the communication. The results offer implications and scientific contributions related to the proposal of a detailed model for the measurement of social and environmental reporting applicable to any type of document, in any geographical contest, and any time frame.
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The environmental certification acts as a sustainable practice for firms to improve their competitive advantage and its motivation has been widely discussed. However, existing researches ignore the important market driving force of green public procurement (GPP) as a policy tool. To fill this gap, this study, focusing on manufacturing firms in China and three typical environmental certifications, explores the relationship between GPP market pressure and firm's environmental certification practice based on institutional theory. Additionally, from a strategic perspective of green human resource management, this study unveils the influence mechanism of top management support in this relationship by using upper echelons theory. According to the empirical results, we find that GPP market pressure is positively associated with environmental certification practice, and top management support partially mediates this relationship. This study provides new insights into the explanation of firm's environmental certification practice, and provides practical implications for firm managers and government administrator.
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This paper investigates whether the European Union policies to tackle climate change create or destroy value for shareholders over the years 2013-2018. Using the event study method, our results suggest that all the sectors were affected by at least one climate policy announcement and that negative effects were more common than positive effects, especially when the Paris Agreement came into force. Up until that point, the announcement of a new policy produced significant positive effects only on the most environmentally committed firms. Finally, data panel regressions reveal that the company's sector, more than its environmental commitment, played a central role in determining market reactions toward climate policies. Our paper contributes to the still limited debate on the relationship between environmental regulation and value for equity investors and opens up the debate on a topic yet to be explored: the mitigating role of the company's environmental commitment. Relevant implications for policy makers promoting a European sustainable economy are also discussed. K E Y W O R D S: climate change, environmental commitment, event study, Paris agreement, wealth effect Shareable Link:
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This paper examines the effects of disclosing greenhouse gas (GHG) information mandatorily on the cost of equity capital (COC) using a longitudinal unbalanced panel database of the UK's FTSE 350 firms for the period 2011-2016. Following Powell (2016), we use a non-linear panel quantile regression (PQR) model to examine the relationship between GHG disclosure (GHGD) and COC in the UK. This technique was supplemented by conducting a two-step generalised method of moment (GMM) estimation to address any concerns related to the potential existence of endogeneity problems. Our findings suggest that high-level GHGD appeared to be negatively associated with COC up to a certain level, which is known as the turning point; then, any increase in GHGD is likely to increase the COC. This means that the non-linear association between GHGD and COC is evidenced in our study and takes a U shape. Likewise, our findings are associative of a moderating effect of the 2013 carbon disclosure regulation (CDR) on the GHGD-COC nexus. We argue that mandatory GHG disclosure and GHG risk are linked so that those companies that are associated with higher GHG risk have a tendency to be better disclosers. Consequently, we urge regulators to design GHG disclosure regulations in a way that mirrors corporate environmental risk and lead to a lower COC in order to align the interests of corporations with those of the society at large.
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This article examines the exposure to and management of carbon risks of different investor types. Considering the dual role as portfolio manager and partial owner, we analyze carbon risk for investors both in terms of exposure to portfolio values and in terms of responsibility as shareholder of carbon‐intensive firms. We show that among various investor types, the preference for holding carbon‐intensive stocks differs substantially, even when considering traditional investment decision parameters. In particular, it is governments whose portfolio values are most threatened by a carbon risk exposure of 49%, but at the same time, they prefer larger ownership shares in polluting firms. In contrast, individual investors, investment advisors, and mutual funds avoid holding stakes in these firms, while revealing only a moderate exposure of their assets to carbon risk. In view of the Paris Agreement, which includes the consistent steering of financial flows towards a low carbon transformation of the economy, our study provides policymakers with important implications regarding the coverage and effects of respective regulations. By identifying the ownership structures of carbon‐intensive firms and respective owners' portfolio compositions, we also offer implications for further research on portfolio decarbonization and shareholders' influence of corporate carbon management.
The purpose of this paper is to test whether the structure of non‐financial disclosure, defined as the diffusion of financial, social, and environmental information as part of the dialog between a firm and its stakeholders, reduce information asymmetry. We adopt a stakeholder view of the firm to analyze the structure of non‐financial disclosure along three dimensions: non‐financial disclosure depth, breadth, and concentration. To operationalize the variables, we applied content analysis technique to non‐financial reports released by US firms included in S&P500 index over the period 2004–2014. We combined content data and Bid‐Ask spread data to test our hypotheses relying on feasible least squared (FLGS) estimation method. Results show that both the level of non‐financial disclosure and the breadth of stakeholder‐related themes covered in the reports reduce information asymmetry. In addition, firms that are consistent in how information is distributed across the different stakeholder categories benefit from lower opacity and reduced information asymmetry. Our findings contribute to the debate on the need to move beyond a one‐fits‐all approach to the study of non‐financial disclosure and its related impacts.