Enhancing Global Competitiveness through Sustainable Environmental Stewardship

Enhancing Global Competitiveness through Sustainable Environmental Stewardship

New Horizons in International Business series

Edited by Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia

It is apparent that environmental issues affect the livelihoods and well being of individuals, communities and businesses the world over. In that vein, this book examines the impact that climate change and other environmental factors have on business. The effect of climate change, while a significant factor, will influence business slowly, but inexorably. Executives should manage environmental risk at three levels: regulatory compliance, potential liability from industrial accidents, and pollutant release mitigation.

Chapter 5: The Effect of Technology Type on the Adoption and Effectiveness of Global Environmental Standards

Glen Dowell and Ben Lewis

Subjects: business and management, international business, environment, corporate social responsibility


Glen Dowell and Ben Lewis INTRODUCTION Fitting with the theme of this volume, we are interested in explaining firms’ environmental performance, and factors affecting firms’ abilities to improve that performance. We investigate the role of technology as a factor in influencing firms’ environmental strategies. We also consider whether a firm’s primary technology type is a moderating factor between its global environmental strategy and its financial performance. Much of the prior literature on corporate environmental performance has considered the link between environmental performance and profit (see Orlitzky, Schmidt, and Rynes, 2003 for one of many reviews of this topic). If the broad message from the numerous studies of environmental and financial performance is that it can pay to be green (or perhaps, that it does not have to cost to be green), the bigger question that remains may be ‘when does it pay to be green?’ Embedded in that question, we believe, is the question of which organizations will have a greater ability to improve their environmental performance, and what role does a firm’s industry and core technology play in its ability to improve its environmental performance (Schaltegger and Synnestvedt, 2002). We argue that understanding environmental performance is, by itself, important for organizational scholars. That is, we need to understand the factors that affect environmental performance regardless of the link between financial performance and environmental factors. Margolis and Walsh (2003) argue forcefully for this perspective, as they suggest that the emphasis on understanding how social responsibility affects profit ‘leaves unexplored...

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