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What Distinguishes EMAS Participants? An Exploration of Company Characteristics

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  • Roeland Bracke

    (Ghent University)

  • Tom Verbeke

    (European University College)

Abstract

Empirical research on the characteristics of environmentally responsive companies has focussed almost exclusively on US and Japanese firms. For Europe, which is commonly considered as the greenest of the three major developed economic markets, similar research is lacking. This paper seeks to fill this gap by empirically investigating the business and financial characteristics, stakeholder pressure and public policies distinguishing companies that have implemented the European Eco-Management and Audit System (EMAS) and those that have not using a unique firm-level dataset of European publicly quoted companies. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First of all, the decision to implement EMAS has not been widely analysed. Secondly, we focus on European firms which allows us to assess if and to what extent European firms behave like their US or Japanese counterparts. We find that the EMAS participation decision is positively influenced by the solvency ratio, the share of non-current liabilities and the average labour cost. Also, two measures of company size are positively associated with EMAS participation: both the absolute company size as well as the relative size of a company compared to its sector average. The profit margin on the other hand exerts a negative influence according to our results. We further show that public policy can heavily influence the EMAS participation decision: companies whose headquarters is located in a member state that actively encourages EMAS have a higher probability of participation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2007.37.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2007.37

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Keywords: EMAS; European Companies; Public Policy;

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  1. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
  2. Anton, W.R.Q.Wilma Rose Q. & Deltas, George & Khanna, Madhu, 2004. "Incentives for environmental self-regulation and implications for environmental performance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 632-654, July.
  3. Seema Arora & Timothy N. Cason, 1996. "Why Do Firms Volunteer to Exceed Environmental Regulations? Understanding Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 413-432.
  4. Richard Perkins & Eric Neumayer, 2004. "Europeanisation and the uneven convergence of environmental policy: explaining the geography of EMAS," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 22(6), pages 881-897, December.
  5. J Videras & A Alberini, 2000. "The appeal of voluntary environmental programs: which firms participate and why?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(4), pages 449-460, October.
  6. Stephen J. Decanio & William E. Watkins, 1998. "Investment In Energy Efficiency: Do The Characteristics Of Firms Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 95-107, February.
  7. Madhu Khanna & William Rose Q. Anton, 2002. "Corporate Environmental Management: Regulatory and Market-Based Incentives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 539-558.
  8. Nakamura, Masao & Takahashi, Takuya & Vertinsky, Ilan, 2001. "Why Japanese Firms Choose to Certify: A Study of Managerial Responses to Environmental Issues," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 23-52, July.
  9. Henriques, Irene & Sadorsky, Perry, 1996. "The Determinants of an Environmentally Responsive Firm: An Empirical Approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 381-395, May.
  10. Arora Seema & Cason Timothy N., 1995. "An Experiment in Voluntary Environmental Regulation: Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 271-286, May.
  11. Matthew Cole, Robert Elliott and Kenichi Shimamoto, 2005. "Globalization, Firm-Level Characteristics and Environmental Management: A Study of Japan," Discussion Papers 05-17, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  12. Dasgupta, Susmita & Hettige, Hemamala & Wheeler, David, 2000. "What Improves Environmental Compliance? Evidence from Mexican Industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 39-66, January.
  13. Anna Alberini & Kathleen Segerson, 2002. "Assessing Voluntary Programs to Improve Environmental Quality," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 157-184, June.
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