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Are 'soft' policy instruments effective? The link between environmental management systems and the environmental performance of companies

Based on the analysis of a large dataset on the environmental performance of European companies in selected industrial sectors, the paper examines the question of whether the presence of an environmental management system (EMS) has a positive impact on the ecoefficiency of companies. It begins with a review of current evidence about the link between EMS and environmental performance, finding that despite much research into EMS there is still very little quantitative research on their actual environmental outcome. The second part of the paper uses three different statistical methods to assess whether companies and production sites with EMS perform better than those without and whether performance improves after an EMS has been introduced. Identifying only a weak link between EMS and eco-efficiency, the authors propose a number of possible explanations and warn against an overly-positive view of EMS as an autonomous driver of environmental performance.

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File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/documents/sewp124.pdf
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Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 124.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:124
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  1. Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 6437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Schleich, Joachim, 2007. "The economics of energy efficiency: barriers to profitable investments," EIB Papers 10/2007, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
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