Global governance in new public environmental management: an international and intertemporal comparison of voluntary standards' impacts

Lead author: Marcus Wagner       Year: 2020       Methodology: Econometric analysis

Publication Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse the indirect effects of environmental management system implementation and certification. Specifically, the paper comprehensively assesses the effects of International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 14001 and European Union Eco‐Management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS) certification as well as experience with implementing environmental management systems on (a) organisational activities outside the scope of environmental management systems, (b) pollution prevention, and (c) product stewardship. This is done by applying multivariate regression analysis to a large multicountry and multiperiod dataset. The analysis finds heterogeneous effects that are limited specifically as concerns pollution prevention and product stewardship and cannot establish clear links to national business systems. Given this and the differences between environmental management system standards, implications for global governance in the context of new public environmental management and the role of national governments in implementing sustainability, even beyond environmental protection, are discussed. Ultimately, the paper evidences on potential limitations of the major international environmental management system standards ISO 14001 and EMAS in supporting the diffusion of advanced practices such as pollution prevention and product stewardship that are necessary for sustainable development. In doing so, it highlights that government‐led public environmental management remains crucial for organising governance, especially in the context of voluntary standards that are applied internationally.


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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Marcus Wagner
  • Countries:

    • European Union