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From eco-efficiency to eco-effectiveness? The policy-performance paradox


  • Mária Csutora

    () (Corvinus University of Budapest Department of Environmental Economics and Technology Budapest Hungary)


The internalisation level of sustainability issues varies among topics and among countries. Companies give up less internalised issues for more internalised ones. Discrepancies between legal, market and cultural internalisation lead to different escape strategies: firms develop a high level environmental management system and they have nice sustainability policy and reports. These achievements cover the fact that their total emission keeps increasing and they do not proceed in solving the most crucial global community or corporate governance problems. ‘Escaper’ firms are often qualified as ‘leading’ ones, as a current stream of research is also ‘escapist’: it puts too much emphasis on sustainability efforts as compared to sustainability performance. Genuine strategies focus on hardcore sustainability issues and absolute effects rather than on issues easily solved and having high PR effects. They allow for growth in innovative firms, if they crowd out less efficient or more polluting ones. They produce positive environmental value added when sector average eco-efficiency is used as benchmark and do not accelerate market expansion and consumerism

Suggested Citation

  • Mária Csutora, 2011. "From eco-efficiency to eco-effectiveness? The policy-performance paradox," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 33(1), pages 161-181, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:33:y:2011:i:1:p:161-181
    Note: The research has been supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (project HU-0056).

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    Cited by:

    1. Merriam Haffar & Cory Searcy, 2017. "Classification of Trade-offs Encountered in the Practice of Corporate Sustainability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 495-522, February.
    2. Csutora, Mária, 2014. "Összegződnek-e az egyéni törekvések?. A cselekvés és az eredmény közötti szakadék problémája
      [Can individual efforts be aggregated?. The problem of the action-impact gap]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 609-625.

    More about this item


    trade-offs; sustainability; environmental strategies; multinational enterprises; environmental management systems; eco-efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects


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