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A comparison of archival versus perceptual measurement of the impact of voluntary environmental instruments on corporate environmental performance

Annandale, D., Morrison-Saunders, A. and Hughes, M. (2004) A comparison of archival versus perceptual measurement of the impact of voluntary environmental instruments on corporate environmental performance. In: IAIA'04 Impact Assessment for Industrial Development Whose Business Is It?, 24th annual meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 24 - 30 April, Vancouver, canada.

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    Abstract

    In the last decade there has been increasing emphasis on the use of voluntary tools such as corporate environmental reporting (CER) and environmental management systems (EMS). However there has been relatively little research on the impact of these tools on the actual environmental performance of corporations. At IAIA ‘02 we presented the findings of a survey of 40 companies operating in Western Australia to determine the extent to which the implementation of voluntary tools has influenced corporate environmental performance. That research was undertaken using ‘perceptual measurement’ as reflected by the views of company executives. During 2003 we revisited the previously surveyed firms, and undertook ‘archival measurement’ to determine the degree of accuracy of the original survey. The archival measurement process sought objective evidence of statements made in the original work. Overall, the results were roughly comparable, regardless of the way in which evidence was collected. We also found that the influence of voluntary instruments was not as strong in practice as the existing literature suggests it should be. We found that most respondents believed that EMS had influenced environmental management practices to some extent. On the other hand, CERs were seen more as a public relations exercise and had less impact on company practices compared to EMSs. Other factors that influenced corporate environmental performance included company size, level of experience with environmental management, and level of corporate and financial support for environmental self-regulation programs within the organisation.

    Publication Type: Conference Item
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/3601
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