Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 789–805 | Cite as

Environmental Impact Assessments from a Business Perspective: Extending Knowledge and Guiding Business Practice

  • Hermann Lion
  • Jerome D. Donovan
  • Rowan E. Bedggood
Article

Abstract

Economic growth and development remain embedded in the very core of our current international economic system and the so called “material economy”. However, depleting natural resources and environmental degradation, which now threaten the well-being of future generations, has challenged this premise, and placed sustainable development as a necessary objective of business activity and expansion. Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) have emerged as a key tool for governments, businesses, and NGOs to manage the negative impact of their activities on the environment. Businesses in particular play a key role in averting or mitigating current environmental trends given that the economic growth they have stimulated has serious consequences for both the environment and social well-being. However, research on the use of EIAs has been conducted mostly from a governmental perspective producing a clear gap between research development and business (corporate) practice. To bridge this gap in knowledge, we develop a new EIA process tailored to real world business constraints and provide a range of propositions which we hope will stimulate future research efforts toward understanding and guiding how businesses integrate environmental issues into their decision-making processes.

Keywords

Environmental impact assessment Process model Environment sustainability Business EIA model 

References

  1. Alshuwaikhat, H. M. (2005). Strategic environmental assessment can help solve environmental impact assessment failures in developing countries. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 25(4), 307–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amoyaw-Osei, Y. (2004). Environmental assessment mainstreaming—Promoting and facilitating investment, sustainable development and compliance. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  3. Annandale, D., Morrison-Saunders, A., & Huges, M. (2004). A comparison of archival verses perceptual measurement of the impact of voluntary environmental instruments on corporate environmental performance. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  4. Appiah-Opoku, S. (2001). Environmental impact assessment in developing countries: The case of Ghana. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 21(1), 59–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arts, J., Caldwell, P., & Morrison-Saunders, A. (2001). Environmental impact assessment follow-up: Good practice and future directions—Findings from a workshop at the IAIA 2000 conference. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 19(3), 176–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bailey, J. (1997). Environmental impact assessment and management: An underexplored relationship. Environmental Management, 21(3), 317–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bansal, P., & Roth, K. (2000). Why companies go green: A model of ecological responsiveness. The Academy of Management Journal, 43(4), 717–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bina, O. (2004). Reflecting on the evolution environmental assessment. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  9. Birley, M. (2004). How HIA is done in Shell’s business. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  10. Boiral, O. (2002). Tacit knowledge and environmental management. Long Range Planning, 35, 291–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Booth, A. L., & Skelton, N. W. (2011). Industry and government perspectives on First Nations’ participation in the British Columbia environmental assessment process. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 31, 216–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Briggs, S., & Hudson, M. D. (2012). Determination of significance in Ecological Impact Assessment: Past change, current practice and future improvements. Environmental Impact Assessment Review,. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2012.04.003.Google Scholar
  13. Cashmore, M. (2004). The role of science in environmental impact assessment: Process and procedure versus purpose in the development of theory. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 24(4), 403–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Casteli, A. L. (2011). Land use change in Brazil: The effectiveness of EIA. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  15. Creasey, R., & Beswick, B. (2004). Conducting impact assessment because it is the right thing to do: The Waterton Seismic Project 2003. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  16. Dada, O. J., & Adoki, A. (2004). Scoping in Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC): The experience with the major trunk line replacement project. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  17. Dalkman, H. (2004). Implementing the European SEA Directive in German—Between “Do-minimum” and “(Pro-)Active Initiatives”. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  18. De Jong, M., & Brown, H. (2004). Adopting the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative: What mechanisms determine its spread among firms in different countries? 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  19. Doran, L. (2004). From cost to benefit: Can sustainability breathe new life into impact assessment? 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  20. Duffy, P. J. B. (2004). Canadian application of EIA to agriculture, forestry and fisheries: An overview. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  21. Elliott, M., & Thomas, I. (2009). Environmental impact assessment in Australia: Theory and practice. Annandale, NSW: Federation Press.Google Scholar
  22. Epstein, M. J. (2008). Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts (1st ed.). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Fischer, T. (2002). Strategic environmental assessment performance criteria—The same requirements for every assessment? Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 4(1), 83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Franks, D. M., Brereton, D., & Moran, C. J. (2010). Managing the cumulative impacts of coal mining on regional communities and environments in Australia. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 28(4), 299–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Glasson, J., Therivel, R., & Chadwick, A. (2005). Introduction to environmental impact assessment (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Herron, H., MacPherson, C., & Leonardo, T. (2011). Incorporating stakeholder climate change priorities in SEA: Lessons learned from Asia. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  27. Hinterberger, F., Luks, F., & Schmidt-Bleek, F. (1997). Material flows vs. ‘natural capital’: What makes an economy sustainable? Ecological Economics, 23(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hunt, C. B., & Auster, E. R. (1990). Proactive environmental management: Avoiding the toxic trap. Sloan Management Review, 31(2), 7–18.Google Scholar
  29. Isaksson, K., & Storbjork, S. (2012). Strategy making and power in environmental assessments. Lessons from the establishment of an out-of-town shopping centre in Vasteras, Sweden. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 34, 65–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jacob, K., & Hertin, J. (2007). Evaluating integrated impact assessments: A conceptual framework. EPIGOV Conference Paper No. 7 (pp. 1–26). Berlin: Ecologic, Institute for International and European Environmental Policy.Google Scholar
  31. Janssen, R. (2001). On the use of multi-criteria analysis in environmental impact assessment in The Netherlands. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, 10(2), 101–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Joao, E., Vanclay, F., & den Broeder, L. (2011). Emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment: Introduction to a special issue. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29(3), 170–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kovalev, N., & Koppel, J. (2004). Environmental impact assessment system and practice of public participation in the Russian Federation. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  34. Kylakorpi, L., & Rydgran, B. (2004). Quantitative biodiversity impact assessment: Five years of using the BIOTOPE method. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  35. Lawrence, D. P. (2003). Environmental impact assessment: Practical solutions to recurrent problems. Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lee, N. (2006). Bridging the gap between theory and practice in integrated assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 26(1), 57–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lenzen, M., Murray, S. A., Kortec, B., & Dey, C. J. (2003). Environmental impact assessment including indirect effects—A case study using input–output analysis. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 23, 263–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Leonen, M. M. V. F., & Santiago, J. S. S. (1993). Disparities in EIA systems of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. ASEAN Economic Bulletin, 10(2), 166–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lezczynska, A. (2009). The concept of designing a corporate environmental strategy. International Journal of Sustainable Economy, 1(3), 305–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Loiselle, R. (2004). Impact assessment of industrial projects in Quebec: What the last eight years have taught us. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  41. Maldonado, E. R., & Robles, M. M. (2011). Entailment of the EIA with the public cost. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  42. Marsden, S. (2011). Reform of Australia’s Offshore Oil and Gas Sector: Montara, the Commission of Inquiry and the Role of Transboundary EIA. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  43. McEachren, J., Whitelaw, G. S., McCarthy, D. D., & Tsuji, L. J. S. (2011). The controversy of transferring the Class Environmental Assessment process to northern Ontario, Canada: The Victor Mine Power Supply Project. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29(2), 109–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Montanez-Cartaxo, L. E. (2004). The EIA Process: A challenge to decision making engineers. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  45. Morgan, T. K. K. B., & Yukich, K. H. (2011). Impact assessment for aid project evaluation. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  46. Morrison-Saunders, A., & Retief, F. (2012). Walking the sustainability assessment talk—Progressing the practice of environmental impact assessment (EIA). Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 36, 34–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mulvihill, P. R., & Jacobs, P. (1998). Using scoping as a design process. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 18(4), 351–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Murray, K., Roux, D. J., Nel, J. L., Driver, A., & Freimund, W. (2011). Absorptive capacity as a guiding concept for effective public sector management and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. Environmental Management, 47, 917–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ness, B., Urbel-Piirsalu, E., Anderberg, S., & Olsson, L. (2007). Categorising tools for sustainability assessment. Ecological Economics, 60(3), 498–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nixon, J. A., & Nathwani, M. (2004). Sustainability Assessment for projects and other business decisions in Shell Canada. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  51. Norejko, M. (2004). Techniques for efficient implementation of public participation in Environmental Assessments. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  52. Oberg, C., Huge-Brodin, M., & Bjorklund, M. (2012). Applying a network level in environmental impact assessments. Journal of Business Research, 65, 247–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. O’Faircheallaigh, C. (2010). Public participation and environmental impact assessment: Purposes, implications, and lessons for public policy making. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 30, 19–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Olausson, I., & Oscarsson, A. (2004). The quality in EIA concerning detailed development plan (DDP). 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  55. Pezzey, J. (1992). Sustainable development concepts: An economic analysis. Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Polido, A., & Ramis, T. B. (2011). Evaluation of strategic environmental assessment scoping effectiveness. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  57. Principles for Responsible Investment. (2011). The Principles for Responsible Investment. http://www.unpri.org/principles/. Accessed 27 Feb 2011.
  58. Rajvanshi, A., Brownlie, S., Slootweg, R., & Arora, R. (2011). Maximizing benefits for biodiversity: The potential of enhancement strategies in impact assessment. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29(3), 181–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Robinson, S., & Murray, A. (2004). Integrating impact assessment and environmental management: The Vancouver international airport authority experience. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  60. Roe, D. (2009). The Millennium Development Goals and natural resources management: Reconciling sustainable livelihoods and resource conservation or fuelling a divide?. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  61. Rubio, E., & Murak, M. (2011). Quitana Roo an Example of the EIA inefficiency. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  62. Sachs, J. D., Baillie, J. E. M., Sutherland, W. J., Armsworth, P. R., Ash, N., Beddington, J., et al. (2009). Biodiversity conservation and the millennium development goals. Science, 325(5947), 1502–1503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sanchez, L. E., & Andre, P. (2011). Organizational learning in EIA agencies—The case of Quebec, Canada. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  64. Schetke, S., Haase, D., & Kotter, T. (2012). Towards sustainable settlement growth: A new multi-criteria assessment for implementing environmental targets into strategic urban planning. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 32, 195–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Shrivastava, P. (1995). Environmental technologies and competitive advantage. Strategic Management Journal, 16(S1), 183–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sok, V., Boruf, B. J., & Morrison-Saunders, A. (2011). Addressing climate change through environmental impact assessment: International perspectives from a survey of IAIA members. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29(4), 317–326.Google Scholar
  67. Spatareanu, M. (2007). Searching for pollution havens: The impact of environmental regulations on foreign direct investment. The Journal of Environment & Development, 16(2), 161–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Steinemann, A. (2001). Improving alternatives for environmental impact assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 21(1), 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tonn, B., English, M., & Travis, C. (2000). A framework for understanding and improving environmental decision making. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 43(2), 163–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Toth, L. F., & Hizsnyik, E. (1998). Integrated environmental assessment methods: Evolution and applications. Environmental Modelling and Assessment, 3(3), 193–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tubino, D. I. S., Yap, N. T., & Devlin, J. F. (2011). Professional practice: Vale and its corporate sustainability performance in Itabira, Brazil: Is the glass half full or half empty? Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29(2), 151–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. United Nations. (1997). Agenda for development. New York: United Nation.Google Scholar
  73. United Nations. (2005). Investing in development: A practical plan to achieve the millennium development goals. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  74. Usui, K. (2011). ‘JICA’s EIA capacity development in East Timor. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  75. Vakhitova, T. V., Guthrie, P., Roders, A. P., & Sunikka, M. (2011). World Heritage Impact Assessment: Experience from the UK. 31st Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 28 May–4 June, Centro de Convenciones, Puebla, Mexico.Google Scholar
  76. Wen, M., Laudry, F., Breckenridge, E., & Pelletier, C. (2004). Looking beyond the EIA. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  77. Wood, G., Glasson, J., & Becker, J. (2006). EIA scoping in England and Wales: Practitioner approaches, perspectives and constraints. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 26(3), 221–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Yap, N. T. (2004). Who says command-and control doesn’t work? Case studies of corporate environmental performance and public policy in Taiwan. 24th Annual Conference, International Association for Impact Assessment, 24–30 April, Vancouver, Canada.Google Scholar
  79. Zubair, S., Bowen, D., & Elwin, E. (2011). Not quite paradise: Inadequacies of environmental impact assessment in the Maldives. Tourism Management, 32, 225–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann Lion
    • 1
  • Jerome D. Donovan
    • 1
  • Rowan E. Bedggood
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EnterpriseSwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia

Personalised recommendations