'The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 1, Number 1, May 2002

ISSN 1602-2297

Coping with the Environment -
Danish companies and their experiences
with ISO 14001/EMAS

Per Christensen, Professor,
Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark
E-mail: pc@i4.auc.dk

The implementation of environmental management practices in industrial companies has grown exponentially in recent years. In Denmark, more than 700 companies have been awarded an ISO 14001 certificate or are EMAS registered. It is often stressed that these companies, compared with the average company, are proactive and work more intensively with cleaner production and consider their production from a life cycle perspective. In a survey of the first 116 companies in Denmark, which had implemented environmental management practices by the beginning of 1998, we examined how the initial environmental review was carried out and what different environmental solutions resulted. The conclusion is that the environmentally certified companies deal with more environmental relations than environmental regulation normally envisages. This more frequently results in the implementation of cleaner production measures than in the average company. It also appears that the EMAS registered companies described the environmental problems in greater detail, managed more of them in their management system, and implemented more radical cleaner production measures than companies which have only adopted ISO 14001.

Key Words: Environmental management systems, ISO 14001, EMAS, Cleaner Technologies, Environmental performance

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