Do environmental management systems improve business performance in an international setting?

Nicole Darnall, Irene Henriques, Perry Sadorsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

369 Scopus citations


With the worldwide increase in the adoption of environmental management systems (EMSs), some research has emerged that evaluates the reasons why facilities adopt them. However, there is little information about how these motivations extend to different international settings, and the link between the comprehensiveness of an EMS and business performance has yet to be demonstrated. While both institutional pressures and resources and capabilities may encourage EMS adoption and improved business performance, questions remain about whether organizations that are motivated mainly by their resources and capabilities benefit to the same extent as organizations that are driven to adopt an EMS mainly because of institutional pressures. We analyze these relationships using OECD survey data from manufacturing facilities operating in Canada, Germany, Hungary, and the United States. Our results show that facilities that are motivated to adopt more comprehensive EMSs because of their complementary resources and capabilities, such as export orientation, employee commitment and environmental R&D, (as opposed to institutional pressures) observe greater overall facility-level business performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-376
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of International Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Business performance
  • Competitive advantage
  • Environmental management system
  • Environmental strategy
  • Institutional theory
  • Resource-based view of the firm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


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