What explains the uneven take-up of ISO 14001 at the global level? A panel-data analysis
Since its release in the mid-1990s, close to 37 000 facilities have been certified to ISO 14001, the international voluntary standard for environmental management systems. Yet, despite claims that the standard can be readily adapted to very different corporate and geographic settings, its take-up has been highly geographically variable. This paper contributes to a growing body of work concerned with explaining the uneven diffusion of ISO 14001 at the global level. Drawing from the existing theoretical and empirical literature we develop a series of hypotheses about how various economic, market, and regulatory factors influence the national count of ISO 14001 certifications. These hypotheses are then tested using econometric estimation techniques with data for a panel of 142 developed and developing countries. We find that per capita ISO 14001 counts are positively correlated with income per capita, stock of foreign direct investment, exports of goods and services to Europe and Japan, and pressure from civil society. Conversely, productivity and levels of state intervention are negatively correlated. The paper finishes by offering a number of recommendations to policymakers concerned with accelerating the diffusion of voluntary environmental standards.