Explaining the international diffusion of environmental management systems
This paper seeks to advance current understanding of uneven adoption of international environmental management systems (EMS) in developed countries. It is shown that empirical results have only limited explanatory power in this context and that social, cultural and institutional factors determine whether a country offers a favourable environment for the voluntary adoption of international EMS. We argue that a country classification based on the degree of statism of the collective agency on the one hand and the degree of corporatism of society’s organization on the other offers a valuable perspective for analysing a country’s response to the introduction the management standards ISO 14001 and EMAS. In more liberal and associational societies, private alternatives for national regulation are welcomed and adopted with enthusiasm. In more statist and corporatist countries, such alternatives are looked upon with suspicion resulting in a delayed take-up and a preference for government-based EMAS.
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