The ISO 9000 series of quality management systems standards and the more recent ISO 14000 environmental management systems standards have generated much controversy among practitioners. Although ISO 9000 has become a de facto requirement for many firms, its effects are poorly understood, and similarly the value and domain of applicability of ISO 14000 have been questioned. This paper reports on an exploratory study into the global spread of ISO 14000. We interviewed practitioners worldwide to identify factors that they believe explain differences between national ISO 14000 certification counts. We then collected quantititive data for these factors and, using regression analysis, we found that exports, environmental attitudes (combined with economic development), and ISO 9000 certification count were significant. The fact that ISO 9000 appears as an important factor explaining diffusion of ISO 14000 certifications suggests that the drivers behind the two have significant overlap. This indicates that, although ISO 14000 is an environmental standard, many of the factors driving national certification patterns are not at all environmental in nature, and that ISO 14000 therefore needs to be studied from a broader perspective than from a purely environmental point of view.
Production and Operations Management – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2001