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How to reconcile environmental and economic performance to improve corporate sustainability: corporate environmental strategies in the European paper industry

How to reconcile environmental and economic performance to improve corporate sustainability: corporate environmental strategies in the European paper industry

Journal of Environmental Management 76(2): 105-118

This paper discusses the relationship between environmental and economic performance and the influence of corporate strategies with regard to sustainability and the environment. After formulating a theoretical model, results are reported from an empirical analysis of the European paper manufacturing industry. New data are used to test hypotheses derived from the theoretical model, using environmental performance indices representing different corporate environmental strategy orientations. In particular, an emissions-based index largely reflecting end-of-pipe strategies and an inputs-based index reflecting integrated pollution prevention are distinguished. For the emissions-based index, a predominantly negative relationship between environmental and economic performance is found, whereas for the inputs-based index no significant link is found. This is consistent with the theoretical model, which predicts the possibility of different relationships. The results also show that for firms with pollution prevention-oriented corporate environmental strategies, the relationship between environmental and economic performance is more positive, thus making improvements in corporate sustainability more likely. Based on this last insight, managerial implications of this are discussed with regard to strategy choices, investment decisions and operations management.

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Accession: 004188148

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15939122

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.11.021

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