Adoption and Outcomes of ISO 14001: a systematic review

Lead author: Olivier Boiral       Year: 2018      

Publication Abstract

The objective of this paper is to analyze the adoption and outcomes of the ISO 14001 standard through a systematic review of the main studies on this issue published in peer‐reviewed journals between 1996 and 2015. The 94 papers analyzed make it possible to paint a comprehensive picture of the effectiveness of ISO 14001 in environmental management practices, performance in this area and social aspects such as employee awareness. The systematic review also sheds more light on the main pitfalls and success factors of the standard. Nevertheless, the similarities and even redundancies of the literature in terms of objectives, approaches and methods used tend to produce quite predictable and optimistic results, which do not reflect the complexity of the impact of ISO 14001. The paper highlights the importance of more diverse and critical approaches that might challenge the successful rhetoric of the dominant literature, which tends to focus on positive aspects and be limited to a few countries that are not representative of the wide international distribution of certification. The findings of this systematic review can also help managers in making decisions on the adoption and renewal of certification.


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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Olivier Boiral
    • Laurence Guillaumie
    • Iñaki Heras‐Saizarbitoria
    • Christian Valery
    • Tayo Tene