The effect of ISO 14001 certification on toxic emissions: an analysis of industrial facilities in the north of Spain

Lead author: Alberto Gomez       Year: 2011      

Publication Abstract

During recent decades, the impact of industrial organisations on the environment has become clearly evident. It has also become more difficult to hide and more expensive. Globally, this has caused many enterprises to put all their efforts into seeking management instruments that allow them to reduce their negative impact on the environment as well as improving their economic efficiency. This environmental interest is either voluntary or forced by customers or by legal pressure. Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) are among the many tools that have appeared to fulfil that goal and that have drawn international researchers’ attention. The most popular system and the one most often used is the ISO 14001 standard. This paper examines empirically the influence that this certification exerts on the company’s pollutant emission policy. The analysis was carried out in four regions of Spain: Asturias, Cantabria, Galicia and Castilla-León and includes 126 industrial organisations. The goal of this paper is to investigate the behaviour of the companies according to their emissions policies once they have achieved the ISO 14001 certification. In the paper the Toxics Release Index of 56 certified companies is compared with the Index of 70 non-certified companies. Through a statistical analysis based on the Student’s t-test and the Mann–Whitney U test, it was concluded that ISO 14001 does not represent an environmental proactivity signal clearly enough to result in a reduction of the company’s environmental polluting index.


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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Alberto Gomez
    • Monica Rodriguez
  • Countries:

    • Spain