IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Bolstering Private Environmental Management


  • Coglianese, Cary

    (Harvard U)

  • Nash, Jennifer


A new approach to environmental policy advocated by state agencies and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to create “tracks” of environmental performance. The philosophy behind performance track programs is simple: distinguish strong environmental performers from weak ones and give strong firms special recognition and rewards such as enforcement forbearance and flexibility. The implementation of an environmental management system, or EMS, is one criterion agencies are using to determine which companies deserve special treatment. In this paper, the authors raise questions about whether the mere presence of an EMS is an appropriate metric for differentiating among firms. Policymakers should bear in mind that the EMS tool by itself is not necessarily sufficient for firms to create superior environmental improvement. Improvements may depend much more on how effectively and ambitiously an EMS is implemented, how well the organization is managed overall, and how committed the managers are to seeing that the firm achieves real and continuous improvement. These factors will always be harder for public agencies to assess. Reduced regulatory oversight may actually weaken the EMSs that firms implement, because incentives for using EMSs aggressively to achieve positive outcomes may be reduced. An agency mandate for broad EMS adoption might lead to a variety of responses from firms, including the adoption of systems with trivial environmental goals. Instead, policymakers should consider providing technical assistance to firms interested in EMS implementation and recognizing EMS firms with certificates of participation, product labeling, or government-sponsored publicity.

Suggested Citation

  • Coglianese, Cary & Nash, Jennifer, 2001. "Bolstering Private Environmental Management," Working Paper Series rwp01-011, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp01-011

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Santos, Rui & Antunes, Paula & Baptista, Gualter & Mateus, Pedro & Madruga, Luisa, 2006. "Stakeholder participation in the design of environmental policy mixes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 100-110, November.
    2. Argandoña, Antonio, 2003. "On ethical, social and environmental management systems," IESE Research Papers D/508, IESE Business School.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp01-011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.