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Faculty Advisors

Rubado, Meghan; Kaufman, Sanda


ISO 14001 is an environmental management standard developed by the International Organization of Standardization in 1996. The standard was designed to assist companies with improving environmental performance, enhancing efficiency, and advancing business relations. However, studies suggest that ISO 14001 has experienced varying degrees of success. For this research project, academic literature from environmental journals along with ISO data and annual reports were reviewed. Initially, resources were encountered which propose that the extent to which ISO 14001 improves environmental outcomes remains uncertain due to the presence of symbolic adoption and external motives in some certified organizations. These findings indicate that data, including names of certified companies and certification dates, would need to be analyzed so that changes experienced following ISO 14001 adoption could be evaluated. The process of obtaining this material proved unsuccessful as comprehensive information is not publicly available or compiled by ISO. Further setbacks were encountered when accessible data was not standardized in a way that allowed for accurate comparisons or assessments of the standard in different regions. Still, research did reveal that the standard consistently provides several positive effects as it elevates company reputation, legal requirement realization, marketing opportunities, and employee environmental awareness. Determining other benefits that demonstrate similar consistency would require additional data that has yet to be acquired.

Publication Date



Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs


Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning

Environmental Certification Program ISO 14001: A Study of Membership Motivation and Effectiveness