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ISO 14001 EMS standard registration decisions among Canadian organizations

Listed author(s):
  • Emmanuel K. Yiridoe

    (Department of Business and Social Sciences, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, P.O. Box 550, Truro, N.S., B2N 5E3, Canada., E-mail:

  • J. Stephen Clark

    (Department of Business and Social Sciences, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, P.O. Box 550, Truro, N.S., B2N 5E3, Canada., E-mail:

  • Geb E. Marett

    (11 Arlington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3411., E-mail:

  • Robert Gordon

    (Department of Engineering, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, P.O. Box 550, Truro, N.S., B2N 5E3, Canada; E-mail:

  • Peter Duinker

    (Dalhousie University, School for Resource and Environmental Studies. 1312 Robie St., Halifax, NS B3H 3J5, Canada; E-mail:

This study characterized the costs and benefits associated with adopting ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) standard, based on a survey of ISO 14001-registered organizations in Canada. Decision makers are contemplating whether it is necessary to register to one or more of the ISO and other international standards and, if so, which ones. Furthermore, an organization that has registered separate departments to different standards and contemplates integrating such standards across the different units may be interested in attributes of particular units that will facilitate integration. Discriminant analysis was conducted to characterize the factors that distinguish between organizations that adopted ISO 14001 alone (single standard), versus those that registered to ISO 14001 along with other quality, health, and safety standards (i.e., multiple standards). The most important factor that motivated adoption to ISO 14001 was to establish a positive environmental profile, thereby promoting goodwill and integrity. Internal factors tended to dominate the motivations for adopting ISO 14001, supporting the hypothesis that external benefits may not be fully realized due to market and policy failure. Internal costs associated with registration depended on the size of the organization and ranged, on average, from CND$17,000 (for organizations with less than 100 employees), to CND$42,000 (for organizations with more than 500 employees). External costs depended more on the type (i.e., sector of the Canadian economy) than on size of the organization. The most important variable that distinguished between Canadian organizations that adopted ISO 14001 alone versus those that adopted ISO 14001 and other standards was whether the organization had an international orientation, that is, those with more than 50% of services or exports to other countries. [EconLit citations: L150, L200, Q290]. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 19: 439-457, 2003.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Agribusiness.

Volume (Year): 19 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 439-457

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Handle: RePEc:wly:agribz:v:19:y:2003:i:4:p:439-457
DOI: 10.1002/agr.10069
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Christopher R. Turner & Gerald F. Ortmann & Michael C. Lyne, 2000. "Adoption of ISO 9000 quality assurance standards by South African agribusiness firms," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 295-307.
  2. 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.
  3. Rondinelli, Dennis A. & Berry, Michael A. & Vastag, Gyula, 1997. "Strategic programming for environmental management: Sonoco's take-back policy," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 23-32.
  4. Vastag, Gyula & Kerekes, Sandor & Rondinelli, Dennis A., 1996. "Evaluation of corporate environmental management approaches: A framework and application," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2-3), pages 193-211, June.
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