3647 The influence of ISO 14001 certification on industrial waste generation: the case of Swedish manufacturing firms

Thomas Zobel , Quality and Environmental Management, Luleň University of Technology, Luleň, Sweden
Full Papers
  • Manuscript GIN 2012 TZobel final version.pdf (72.4 kB)
  • Justification of the paper:

    Adoption of environmental management systems (EMS) and certification of those systems constitutes one of the most important elements of sustainable industry management in recent years. Research on EMS is rather extensive, but with few exceptions, studies on the influence of EMS are relying heavily on firm representatives’ perceived benefits. Moreover, previous studies tend to focus on the systems impact on firms’ overall environmental performance, not identifying differences in different environmental aspects.


    This study aims to contribute knowledge about the influence of EMS on industrial waste production based on objective industrial waste data derived from mandatory annual environmental reports.

    Theoretical framework:

    The study focuses on changes in industrial waste production over a period of six years before ISO 14001 certification and a period of six years after certification. Both firms with an EMS and firms without a system are included in the study. The year 2000 was chosen as the base year because it was the year that the most certified manufacturing firms with a regulatory environmental permit got an ISO 14001 certificate. A total of 130 such firms could be found. A comparative sample was created by a random sample of 130 firms taken out of the total population of non-certified manufacturing firms with a permit. Environmental reports for the years 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006 were collected from the firms’ different local and regional environmental agencies. Documents were received for 217 firms (83 %) and after the removal of non-usable firms, 66 certified firms and 50 non-certified firms remained. A comparison between the change in waste production in the two groups of firms will be performed in spring/summer 2012, in order to reveal if we can see any differences between ISO 14001 certified firms and those choosing not to adopt a system. Comparisons will be made over the period 1997-2003 (short term) and 1994-2006 (long term).  Analysis will be performed mainly by using t-tests for three waste areas: total amounts of waste, waste to landfill and hazardous waste.


    Analysis of waste production data will be performed in the period between late April and early July 2011.


    Hence it is still too early to present any findings.