This article aims to shed light on how organizations implement environmental objectives in ISO 14001 certified Environmental Management Systems (EMSs), an issue that has been overlooked in the literature. More specifically, the flexible nature of ISO 14001 to set environmental objectives, considering the role of their stakeholders, and the specific environmental aspects addressed in the environmental objectives are analyzed. The field work based on mixed methods combined 20 qualitative interviews with a survey to 277 Danish certified organizations. Findings show that the key stakeholders for EMSs - namely, employees and customers - are rarely involved to set the environmental objectives, as top managers in collaboration with environmental managers set them. Objectives within the areas of energy/climate, waste, and water consumption are the most common ones, while the least used ones deal with biodiversity, lifecycle assessments and design. Thus, the rather operational focus of the EMSs is highlighted. Implications for organizations, managers, and other stakeholders are discussed.
- Environmental management system
- Environmental objectives
- ISO 14001
- Supply chain