Motives, difficulties and benefits in implementing ISO 14001 environmental management system

Lead author: Evangelos Psomas       Year: 2011      

Publication Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the motives for implementing the ISO 14001 standard, the difficulties in meeting the standard's requirements and the benefits derived, and to determine the most significant latent constructs (unobserved variables) of these. Design/methodology/approach - A research project was carried out in 53 ISO 14001‐certified Greek companies. Exploratory Factor Analyses were applied in order to refine the latent constructs of the ISO 14001 motives, difficulties and benefits. Findings - Obtaining a competitive advantage, the social requirement and the environmentally‐friendly policy were the extracted latent constructs of the ISO 14001 motives. The decision of the companies to be ISO 14001‐certified was mostly influenced by internal motives. The ISO 14001 requirements and the determination of environmental performance issues were the extracted latent constructs of the difficulties faced during the implementation of the standard. However, according to the findings, the level of these difficulties was not high. The improvement of a company's position in the market, the transition from conventional to sustainable practices, the improved relationship with society due to better environmental performance and the improvement of waste processing were the extracted latent constructs of the benefits derived. Even though they were not extremely high, the internal were more significant than the external benefits. Research limitations/implications - The subjective character of the data collected, the small size of the sample of the participating companies and their diversity with respect to their sector and size, are the main limitations of the present study. Future studies can use these limitations as suggestions for further research. Practical implications - The latent constructs extracted through the analysis of the ISO 14001 motives, difficulties and benefits may encourage non‐certified companies to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) according to ISO 14001. The ISO 14001 certified companies can focus on specific factors in order to strengthen their motivation, avoid difficulties, maximise benefits and consequently to improve their environmental management and performance. Originality/value - This paper describes the underlying structure of the ISO 14001 motives, difficulties and benefits and determines the respective latent constructs.


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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Evangelos Psomas
    • Christos Fotopoulos
    • Dimitrios Kafetzopoulos