ISO 14001 Adoption and Environmental Performance: The Case of Manufacturing in Sweden

  • Thomas ZobelEmail author
Part of the Measuring Operations Performance book series (MEOP)


Environmental management systems based on the international standard ISO 14001 have become widespread in companies globally during the last two decades. This chapter aims to contribute knowledge as to which companies are most likely to adopt ISO 14001, environmental frontrunners or poor performers in need of effective approaches. In addition, the chapter aims to assess the impact of ISO 14001 on concrete environmental performance. The context in focus in this study is manufacturing companies in Sweden. The study focuses on changes in performance over a period of 12 years and includes both ISO 14001-certified companies and non-certified companies. The analysis has been carried out using statistical methods for five different environmental areas: air emissions, water emissions, resource use, energy use and waste. In none of these environmental areas have we been able to find any significant differences between certified and non-certified companies regarding performance improvement prior to ISO 14001-certification or the corresponding period in non-certified companies. Certain positive concrete effects as a result of the ISO 14001 adoption have been found but, in general, the standard seems to have limited effect on the improvement of corporate environmental performance. There are many examples in the literature that ISO 14001 has been successful under certain circumstances but at the same time it seems that ISO 14001-certification does not appear to be a guarantee of neither superior environmental performance nor concrete environmental improvements.


ISO 14001 Environmental management system Environmental performance Manufacturing Sweden Market signaling 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Business Administration and Industrial EngineeringLuleå University of TechnologyLuleåSweden

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