پیدا کردن ارتباط : سیستم های مدیریت زیست محیطی و عملکرد زیست محیطی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|6470||2009||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6550 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 17, Issue 6, April 2009, Pages 601–607
With more than 130,000 organizations worldwide certified according to ISO requirements, business people, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders have reason to wonder whether the purpose of ISO 14001, which is to help improve environmental performance, is being fulfilled. There is a growing body of literature attempting to answer this question. The results, however, are inconclusive. This meta-study analyzes a pool of 23 studies connecting environmental performance to environmental management systems. It shows that the reason that earlier studies arrived at mixed conclusions is twofold. Firstly, there is no agreement on what environmental performance is or how to measure it. Secondly, there is neither clarity nor agreement about how or why environmental management systems are expected to aid performance. It is therefore unclear whether the mechanisms that lead to improvement are expected to be the same for all companies or dependent on each implementation. The authors conclude that it is more fruitful to research how environmental management systems affect performance, rather than whether they do so or not. The recommended starting point for such studies is environmental performance as each organization defines it. This in turn implies a case by case approach and a need for much more research in the field.
A significant and growing number of studies have attempted to examine the environmental outcomes of environmental management systems (EMS). Since their development and launch in the 1990s, with the Rio Summit as one motivator, the phenomenon of externally audited environmental management systems has caught on in industry and other organizations and continues to spread. Foremost among environmental management standards is ISO 14001. So far more than 130,000 organizations worldwide have certified their environmental management systems according to ISO requirements . After more than a decade of existence standardized environmental management systems should certainly have a sufficient track record for meaningful evaluation. The stature and success of the standard indicate that such attention is warranted. One pressing line of inquiry is to what extent use of the standard has actually benefited the environment. The usefulness of EMS as a tool to manage environmental issues in companies is a question of interest to many different parties. One of the most interested groups conceivably are the companies themselves, who invest large amount of resources into the implementation and operation of EMS. As a natural follow up they seek to find out not only their own performance in connection to increased environmental work, but also the general value of the standardized EMS as recognized on the relevant markets. Companies that have invested in EMS want to see a return in whatever terms it was that led to the decision to implement their EMS. Companies are also interested in environmental management done in other business establishments. One of the reasons is to benchmark with competitors on the market . Another growing trend is to demand ISO 14001 certificate from suppliers. This practice serves as a first step to environmental supply chain management, and also creates new opportunities for businesses that have implemented the environmental management systems. The certification by itself shows that environmental practices are implemented and environmental performance of companies is at least on an acceptable level. There is, however, a large unrealized potential to use the EMS to monitor and manage the environmental performance of the suppliers . Companies using EMS in their supply chain management therefore also require a better understanding of how the aspects of environmental performance important to them are affected. Governments have an interest in efficient regulatory mechanisms and there is hope that environmental management systems could facilitate this . The very existence of the EMAS regulation also clearly demonstrates that governments perceive a regulatory need or opportunity that can be addressed with environmental management systems . Regulatory authorities on various levels are offering possible control relief for environmental front runners. It was claimed as one of the possible benefits for organizations and lately also has become known as a practice to offer regulatory relief for companies investing in the systems compliant to EMAS and ISO 14001 . Now, after years of possible experience gathering regulatory bodies may be interested to find out if such practices are worthwhile, if EMS-oriented organizations are actually performing better than those without EMS. One very good reason to wish to examine if EMS improves environmental performance is that the enhanced environmental performance is at least part of the reason for the standard. “The general purpose of this standard is to provide assistance to organizations that wish to implement or improve an environmental management system and thereby improve their environmental performance” . This claim must, however, be seen in the light of what may be defined as performance and improvement. The purpose of this study is to facilitate continued research on the results of EMS by analyzing and summarizing earlier work. This article, based on a meta-study of selected literature, discusses how the outcomes of EMS in terms of environmental performance are first of all perceived and defined. The methodological choices are also focused in order to answer the question of causal relationship between EMS and improved environmental performance. Further, the issue of context dependency of EMS is discussed. The authors hope to contribute to asking the right questions in coming research, but also to increase the clarity of investigations. This article starts with a brief presentation of some recurring theoretical issues that guide the following sections with findings and analysis. As the last part the authors conclude the study and give recommendations for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although the body of research on the connection between EMS and performance included in this work is still inconclusive, the efforts so far can yield some conclusions. The first conclusion is that the definition of performance used in any study, though varied and subjective, must be clearly stated, since it increases the understanding of what is selected as the object of the research and it has the major impact on the final conclusion one can draw. The authors found that definition was not often clear and explicit. In many cases the only way to get to know the definition was to deduce it from various parts of the text. This could impair the possibilities for the results to be used more broadly. It is especially important to be clear whether the study evaluates EMS according to the company's own objectives or other criteria. Because many studies will be needed to paint a general picture of outcomes of EMS, it is imperative that definitions are clearly described in the presentations of the research. Secondly, it has to be recognized that all research methods have their own strengths and limitations. Whereas in the pool of selected studies the quantitative methods usually looked at emissions, the qualitative were more directed towards general perceptions or the issues that were of importance to the particular company. All these approaches may usefully serve different purposes and lead to different conclusions. Thus, since the quantitative and qualitative studies will continuously facilitate the knowledge development around EMS and its applications, it is important that thorough context dependency provisions are taken. Policy makers need to beware that not only may it take some time before the connection between EMS and performance is clear, but also that the results may be mixed. If we ask if EMS leads to improved performance, the answer will quite likely be: “It depends.” If we instead ask how EMS affects performance, this will at least generate useful insight for improving the systems. The variety of results so far supports a hypothesis that the effects of EMS are not general, but dependent on other factors, such as the management style and goals of the particular company, its operating environment, culture and stakeholders. The studies selected for this meta-study have approached the issues rather differently, and only few took sufficient measures to provide for the question of attributability. The authors here suggest that the question to research which will be most fruitful is not whether EMS improves performance, but how, when and why, depending on goals, culture, economy, legislation and so on. The studies reviewed here are a good start of the research on the effects of EMS, but more data will be needed to understand the causal relationship well enough. Because of the limitations facing a meta-study such as this, and the need for generating more and broader understanding, further research is an excellent opportunity for collaborative efforts. Research done in parallel in different countries could perhaps benefit considerably from comparison with other ongoing work as the research proceeds. This would allow greater sharing of methodological detail, in addition to comparison of raw data. The suggested approach will require a great research effort before results in a sufficient variety of goals, cultures, environments and so on can be evaluated. The number and power of interested parties should ensure that the effort is made. Here is a fruitful field for cross-border collaboration in order to achieve comparisons between implementations within studies, as well as between studies. The connection between EMS and performance is a puzzle, of which a few pieces are now in place.