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Environmental management systems and their influence on corporate responses to climate change

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The Greenhouse Challenge was initiated by the Australian government in 1995 as a voluntary programme for Australian companies to report on their actions to abate greenhouse gas emissions. The following year saw the first Australian certifications to the ISO 14001 Standard for environmental management systems (EMSs). Since that time, as an increasing number of organisations have had their EMSs certified to ISO 14001 and, as membership of the Greenhouse Challenge has grown, there has been increasing discussion of the potential for EMSs to contribute to improved corporate performance on energy and greenhouse gas emission management.

The purpose of this chapter is to review the experience with EMSs and the Greenhouse Challenge, to identify the lessons that have been learned and to assess the potential for these lessons to be applied outside the Australian context. Specific attention is focused on (a) the relationship between greenhouse and energy management and broader corporate environmental management systems; (b) the environmental performance of organisations that have implemented EMSs and/or have joined the Greenhouse Challenge; (c) the economic and financial impacts of greenhouse and energy management; and (d) the external barriers to improved greenhouse performance and whether these barriers can be overcome through structured approaches to environmental management.
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Keywords: change; climate; corporate; environmental; management; responses; systems

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 09 March 2005

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