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Applying GRI reports for the investigation of environmental management practices and company performance in Sweden, China and India
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Production Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Production Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Production Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 98, 36-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The relationship between environmental management practices (EMPs) and company performance hasrecently been debated in literature and is of interest for both industrial managers and political decisionmakers.This paper investigates the relationship between EMPs and firm performance in manufacturingcompanies in Sweden, China and India. With the content analysis of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)reports and financial reports of sample companies, the levels of EMPs and the companies’ financialperformances were coded. Further statistical assessment was conducted in order to identify patterns andcorrelations. The results indicate that only selected EMPs have been employed differently in threedifferent countries. Most EMPs clearly do not have a positive correlation with the financial performance;i.e. employing EMPs does not necessarily improve the economic consequence of companies. Nevertheless,a number of EMPs do have a strong correlation with improving innovation performance in variouscompanies. It is also interesting to note that a negative correlation exists between the Environmentalstandard for suppliers and Sales growth. This is possibly due to increasing operational costs and a delay inmarket acceptance. This research illustrates the possibility of using standard environmental data fromGRI reports as a resource for future studies of EMPs. In order to improve long-term financial performance,this study also suggests that innovation should gain a substantial amount of attention when EMPsare employed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 98, 36-46 p.
Keyword [en]
Environmental management practices; Company performance; Global reporting initiative ; Manufacturing industry; Empirical research
National Category
Environmental Management Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-113755DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.02.001ISI: 000356194300005OAI: diva2:784549
Available from: 2015-01-29 Created: 2015-01-29 Last updated: 2015-09-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sustainability and company performance: Evidence from the manufacturing industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability and company performance: Evidence from the manufacturing industry
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation approaches the question of sustainability and its influence on company performance, with special focus on the manufacturing industry. In the contemporary production environment, manufacturing operations must take into account not only profit, but also environmental and social performance, in order to ensure the long-term development of the company. Companies have to decide whether they should allocate resources to environmental and social practices in order to improve their competitive advantage. Consequently, in decision-making processes concerning operations, it is important for companies to understand how to coordinate profit, people, and planet.

The objective of this dissertation was to investigate the current situation regarding manufacturers’ sustainable initiatives, and to explore the relationship between these sustainable practices and companies’ performance, including financial performance, operational performance, innovation performance, environmental performance, and social performance. First of all, a structured literature review was conducted to identify sustainable factors considered to be important in the decision making of manufacturing operations. The findings were synthesized into a conceptual model, which was then adopted as the basis for designing the survey instrument used in this dissertation. Drawing on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reports, empirical research was performed to explore the relationship between environmental management practices and company performance. Interestingly, the findings showed that many environmental management practices had a strong positive impact on innovation performance. Sustainability disclosures and financial performance were further analyzed using extended data from the GRI reports. The results also showed that several sustainability performance indicators, such as product responsibility, human rights, and society, displayed a significant and positive correlation with return on equity in the sample companies.

In order to further explore the research area and to verify these findings, a triangulation approach was adopted and new data were collected via a survey conducted among middle and large sample companies in the Swedish manufacturing industry. The results indicated that the sustainable improvement practices had a positive impact on company performance. Some environmental and social improvement practices had a direct and positive correlation with product and process innovation. Furthermore, findings suggested that better cooperation with suppliers on environmental work could help to strengthen the organizational green capabilities of the focal companies.

When considering the company’s general approach to implementing sustainable practices, some interesting findings emerged. There were limited significant differences in sustainable practices when comparing different manufacturing sectors, and different countries and regions. However, the results showed that Swedish manufacturing companies often place higher priority on implementing economic and environmental sustainability practices than on social ones.

This dissertation contributes to the literature on manufacturing sustainability. The study expands the understanding of how environmental, social, or economic perspectives as a triple bottom line can influence company performance and to a certain extent the supply chain. Identifying and understanding such relationships gives companies the opportunity to integrate sustainability into their manufacturing operations strategy in order to sustain their manufacturing operations over the long term.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 67 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1698
Empirical research, sustainable practices, company performance
National Category
Economics and Business Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121052 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-121052 (DOI)978-91-7685-967-4 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-09-22, ACAS, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-09-03 Created: 2015-09-03 Last updated: 2015-09-03Bibliographically approved

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