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Development of the Use of Standardised Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) in Local Authorities
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, Vol. 12, no 3, 144-156 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Local authorities have used EMSs to structure their environmental efforts for some time now, and this paper studies the development over time of the use of EMSs in some Swedish local authorities. The analyses depart from three development indicators: dissemination of the EMS work, the progress in the EMS cycle and the use of EMS standards. The results show that EMSs are more widely used within the local authorities today compared with a few years ago. Before, it was mainly the technical sector that was subject to EMS implementation, but today there is a stronger emphasis on the successfulness of EMS implementation in departments within the soft sector. The study also shows that local authorities have shifted from using ISO 14001 and/or EMAS to using less formal, often locally adapted and designed standards. The paper concludes by discussing the usefulness of standards for EMS implementation in local authorities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 12, no 3, 144-156 p.
Keyword [en]
local authority, EMS, dissemination, progress, use of standards
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13596DOI: 10.1002/csr.80OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13596DiVA: diva2:21005
Available from: 2005-06-02 Created: 2005-06-02 Last updated: 2011-05-02
In thesis
1. Local authorities' approaches to standardised environmental management systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Local authorities' approaches to standardised environmental management systems
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim with this thesis is to create a broader understanding of how the EMS tool works in local authorities. This means to study whether EMS is a useful tool for managing the environmental impact from the local authorities' activities and by highlighting its strengths and weaknesses as a tool. EMS is a tool that is used on a voluntary basis that aims at improving organisations' environmental performance. There are several standards for designing EMSs; however, this thesis focuses on EMSs designed according to the principles of the international standard ISO 14001 and the EU regulation Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). The standards are based on a wide range of requirements. If these requirements are fulfilled, the organisation can choose to get its EMS certified by a third party. The EMS tool is frequently used in the private sector, and it is sometimes argued that it is designed for private (industrial) organisations. However, local authorities worldwide have shown an increased interest in EMSs since the mid 1990s. The EMS use in the private sector has been subject to some critique. For example, there is a risk that the tool is used only to get another certificate in order to increase their legitimacy, which means that there is a risk that the environmental issues are neglected. Until now, little academic research has been conducted concerning EMS use in local authorities. Therefore, it is interesting to study what approaches local authorities have to EMSs.

Mainly Swedish local authorities have been studied for this thesis. Many Swedish local authorities have been using EMSs for a fairly long time, which means that they have a certain amount of experience from this using tool. The local authorities' approaches to EMS use have been studied from several perspectives using postal surveys, interviews, and case study methodology. This means that the research has a strong empirical foundation.

The EMS use in Swedish local authorities is fairly common, since almost half of them are in the process of implementing EMSs in all or some of their departments. The main reason for implementing EMSs is to improve the structure of their environmental management. The local authorities often use ISO 14001 and/or EMAS as inspiration and design the EMSs according to their local conditions and ambitions, thus certification of the EMSs is seldom an aim. Although many local authorities seem to use EMSs in a reflective and sensible way, several barriers or difficulties - for example, maintaining continuity and ensuring follow-up of the environmental improvements - have been discovered. Furthermore, the EMSs that are being implemented often exclude environmental impact related to their exercise of authority since it is difficult and abstract. Including environmental impact related to these activities is often seen as a matter of maturity. To develop the organisations' EMSs, internal and external communication and interaction is experienced as very important. Such issues contribute to the EMS maturity processes, since the local authorities find new inspiration, knowledge, and motivation to further develop the EMS processes and, as a consequence, improve their environmental performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för konstruktions- och produktionsteknik, 2005
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 939
Keyword
Environment, eco management and audit scheme, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-5045 (URN)91-85297-77-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-05-19, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-06-02 Created: 2005-06-02 Last updated: 2011-05-02

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Emilsson (Gustafsson), SaraHjelm, Olof

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