Industry has long been one of the most important drivers of Chinese economic growth. In order to improve the environmental footprint of industrial areas, Chinese authorities have established mechanisms of environmental control in the internal management processes of companies. In this regard, the international standard ISO 14001 for environmental management systems is the management tool that has had widest adoption among Chinese companies since its creation in 1996. The main purposes of the paper are to investigate the available international and national statistics on the adoptionof ISO 14001 in China, and present opinions on ISO 14001 of the 72 representatives of small and medium enterprises and multinational companies of Guangdong province that participated to the workshop New tools and standards to advance and measure corporate sustainability, held in Guangzhou on 26 January 2018. The analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) was adopted as the research method to collect opinions on the ISO 14001 standard. Participants were asked to discuss strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities considering four business aspects: sustainability, internal processes, stakeholder engagement, and resource management. Our findings indicate that companies fully embraced ISO 14001 and recognized the necessity of a standardized approach to identify environmental aspects. On the other hand, they also expressed concern about aspects such as the certification cost, the focus on certification itself and not on the improvement of environmental performance, and the lack of integration with sustainability tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) and other sustainability paradigms such as circular economy and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

SWOT Analysis of the Application of International Standard ISO 14001 in the Chinese Context. A Case Study of Guangdong Province

Pesce, Marco;Critto, Andrea;Marcomini, Antonio
2018

Abstract

Industry has long been one of the most important drivers of Chinese economic growth. In order to improve the environmental footprint of industrial areas, Chinese authorities have established mechanisms of environmental control in the internal management processes of companies. In this regard, the international standard ISO 14001 for environmental management systems is the management tool that has had widest adoption among Chinese companies since its creation in 1996. The main purposes of the paper are to investigate the available international and national statistics on the adoptionof ISO 14001 in China, and present opinions on ISO 14001 of the 72 representatives of small and medium enterprises and multinational companies of Guangdong province that participated to the workshop New tools and standards to advance and measure corporate sustainability, held in Guangzhou on 26 January 2018. The analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) was adopted as the research method to collect opinions on the ISO 14001 standard. Participants were asked to discuss strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities considering four business aspects: sustainability, internal processes, stakeholder engagement, and resource management. Our findings indicate that companies fully embraced ISO 14001 and recognized the necessity of a standardized approach to identify environmental aspects. On the other hand, they also expressed concern about aspects such as the certification cost, the focus on certification itself and not on the improvement of environmental performance, and the lack of integration with sustainability tools such as life cycle assessment (LCA) and other sustainability paradigms such as circular economy and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3714404
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