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Public sector voluntary initiatives: the adoption of the environmental management system by public waste water treatment facilities in the United States

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This study examines the determinants of Environment Management System (EMS) adoption by public wastewater treatment facilities in the US. Based on the literature, it considers the range of regulatory, market and political influences on EMS adoption. The paper also incorporates prior work on publicness theory to articulate possible sectoral differences related to voluntary policy adoption. Hypotheses are tested using ordered logistic regression on data from a national survey of public wastewater treatment facilities in the US. Findings indicate that public wastewater treatment facilities that perceive stricter environmental regulation and greater attention from environmental groups and the public are more likely to voluntarily adopt an EMS. In addition, facilities reporting a higher degree of publicness are more likely to adopt in response to politician demands and when they apply greater amounts of biosolids to land. The findings carry implications for policy makers who aim to encourage public sector voluntary initiatives.
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Keywords: environment management system; public sector voluntary initiative; publicness; voluntary environmental agreement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Administration, Tamkang University, No.151, Yingzhuan Rd., Tamsui Dist., New Taipei City, 25137, Taiwan (R.O.C.) 2: Science, Technology and Environment Policy Lab, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago, 412 South Peoria, Chicago, IL, 60607, USA 3: School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA

Publication date: October 3, 2014

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