The promises and pitfalls of ISO 14001 for competitiveness and sustainability A comparison of Japan and the United States

Eric W. Welch, Ashish Rana, Yasuhumi Mori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter investigates the theoretical and empirical reasons why Japan leads the world in adoption of ISO 14001, while the US lags, and the comparative effect of ISO 14001 on environmental performance of adopters in both countries. Findings suggest that institutional barriers to adoption are much higher in the adversarial policy climate of the US than in the more reciprocal policy climate of Japan. Expected benefits of adoption are lower than the reported realisation, and this finding is significant for some categories such as competitive market advantage and relationships with regulators. Findings regarding the effect of ISO on environmental performance are mixed, but generally point to a relatively limited effect. We conclude that, even if ISO 14001 has a moderate effect on firm environmental action, the structural barriers in the US generally limit the viability of these types of voluntary policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManaging the Business Case for Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationThe Integration of Social, Environmental and Economic Performance
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages569-588
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351280525
ISBN (Print)9781874719953
StatePublished - Sep 8 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)

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