Many firms use ISO’s 14000 standards to support various aspects of environmental management. ISO 14001, specifically, describes a framework companies can use to set up effective environmental management systems (EMS).
While some firms implement ISO 14001 in response to pressure from external stakeholders, including government, this isn’t the only compelling reason. Environmental indicators and audits are critical components of EMS and they can add real value to firms, according to new research by Angèle Dohou-Renaud, senior lecturer at Dijon's IAE (Université de Bourgogne, France).
Environmental Indicators and Audits Add Value to Firms in Two Ways:
- Legitimizing environmental initiatives: Environmental indicators and audits help firms publicize environmental activities and show that practices conform to stakeholder expectations. This lends credibility to initiatives and enhances corporate reputation.
- Assessment and improvement of environmental performance. Environmental indicators and audits can also help firms meet core business needs. For example, they:
- Allow regular monitoring of performance against a firm’s environmental objectives, and
- Support the creation of action plans to improve performance where objectives are not being met.
These tools therefore assist firms in continuously improving environmental performance.
Key Take Away
Environmental indicators and audits confer many benefits to firms that use them. They help respond to regulatory and stakeholder pressure, manage and improve environmental performance and improve reputation by legitimizing environmental activities. Consider using ISO 14001 today!
About the Research
These findings are based on research by Angèle Dohou-Renaud, of the Centre de recherche en gestion (CEREGE), Institut d’administration des entreprises (IAE), in Poitiers, France. The 2008 study summarized the findings of previous research on the topic and included a new, exploratory study of ten ISO 14001-certified firms in France.
Dohou-Renaud, A. 2009. Le rôle et les outils de la performance environnementale: le cas des audits et indicateurs environnementaux dans dix entreprises françaises certifiées ISO 14001. Revue management et avenir, 29: 344-362.