Companies that discontinue their ISO14001 certification - Reasons, consequences and impact on practice

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Abstract

This paper analyzes 19 Danish companies that have chosen to discontinue their ISO14001 certification. We analyze the reasons for discontinuation, and how this decision influence the environmental practices in the companies. This provides insights into the barriers for ISO14001, but also the institutionalized practices that continue in the companies, when the certification is discontinued, as well as the practices that have not become institutionalized and thus discontinue along with the certification. The companies have been certified an average of 8 years. There are two main categories of companies that have chosen to discontinue their ISO14001 certification: the first category cover those that have chosen to substitute with another system; their environmental practices mostly continue, although only one company have chosen to work with continuous improvements after they discontinued their certification. The second category cover those that have chosen to not to have a system. For those companies, very few practices from the systematic approach is maintained, even though they have many years of experience with being certified. Several of the companies still consider environmental issues when doing large investments such as new machinery or buildings. The main argument for discontinuing ISO14001 rests on a cost-benefit consideration; the resources needed to maintain the certification are too big compared to the experienced benefits. The lack of benefits is mainly related to economic arguments, but the companies also explain that there is no focus on ISO14001 from neither costumers nor other environmental stakeholders. Also, they have not found sufficient organizational and environmental benefits to sustain the system. The companies have focused on production and resource-efficiency and have not included more strategic elements such as a lifecycle or product-oriented perspective. Strategic initiatives can be a solution for the companies that feel that they have harvested the low hanging fruits already and have not found strategic value in ISO14001.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer121052
TidsskriftJournal of Cleaner Production
Vol/bind260
ISSN0959-6526
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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