The use of ISO 14001 in India: More than a certificate on the wall?

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Since its release in 1996, ISO 14001 has emerged as the leading voluntary system for certifying a firm's commitment to environmental management. By using India as a case example, this article examines the benefits and limitations of ISO 14001 in improving the environmental performance of firms in developing nations. By overlaying an analysis of the standard with the experiences of knowledgeable stakeholders in India, we examine (a) possible motivations driving Indian firms to pursue ISO 14001 certification, (b) the value of ISO 14001 certification in encouraging firms to improve their environmental performance, and (c) the potential role of ISO 14001 as a regulatory tool. In the end, we conclude that the value of ISO 14001 certification is intimately connected to the quality of the certification process as well as the effectiveness of the local regulatory system. Furthermore, its main value appears to lie in the positive effects associated with a well-implemented environmental management system, which improves a firm's ability to comply with environmental regulations consistently and efficiently over the long term. © 2008 National Association of Environmental Professionals.

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Environmental Practice