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Environmental Management

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 468–482 | Cite as

Corporate Environmental Policy Statements in Mainland China: To What Extent Do They Conform to ISO 14000 Documentation?

  • Shan Shan Chung
  • Gerald E. Fryxell
  • Carlos W. H. Lo
RESEARCH

Abstract

For decades, industry has been the main source of pollution in China. Determined to make changes, the mainland Chinese authorities have decided to promote mechanisms that incorporate environmental concerns into the internal management of enterprises. This is manifested in the rapid adoption of the ISO14000 standards, including a significant increase in ISO14001 registrations in China. Thus, this study examined the environmental policy statements of 106 certified facilities in mainland China against a strict interpretation of the mandatory requirements of the ISO 14001:1996 standard and the nonmandatory ISO14004 requirements in order to shed some light on the implementation of environmental management systems in an emerging economic giant. It was decided to analyze the environmental policy statement because such a statement is a core element in the ISO system of environmental management of each facility and there are relatively clear and specific requirements on what an environmental policy statement shall include. An analysis of the contents of the environmental policy statements shows that conformance to the relevant requirements of both the mandatory ISO14001 standard and the nonmandatory ISO14004 standard is far from impressive and that the facilities in our sample seldom went beyond the minimum requirements. By using ISO14001 and ISO14004 conformance scores as the dependent variables, we found that conformity to ISO14001 and overall conformance to ISO14000 series can be explained to some extent by the degree of top management commitment, the experience with informal environmental management systems, and the form of ownership of the facilities.

Keywords

ISO14001 Environmental policy statements China Corporate environmental performance Environmental management system ISO14004 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research for this article was partially funded by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, under the project “Antecedents and Consequences of ISO14001 Certification in the People’s Republic of China” (RGC No. PolyU5229/01H). The authors would like to thank the EMS managers of the surveyed companies for offering their time and enlightening comments on the implementation of EMS in mainland China. We are also grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shan Shan Chung
    • 1
  • Gerald E. Fryxell
    • 2
  • Carlos W. H. Lo
    • 3
  1. 1.Croucher Institute for Environmental SciencesDepartment of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  2. 2.China Europe International Business SchoolPudongPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of ManagementThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong

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