Purpose: This study uses the survey method to examine the associations between the three levels of environmental activity management (EAM) (environmental activity analysis, environmental activity cost analysis and environmental activity based costing) with environmental management systems (EMSs), and assesses the effectiveness of these EAM practices and EMSs by examining their associations with both environmental and financial performance. While this study is unable to assert causality, the findings provide an important insight into the need to integrate EMSs and EMA practices, specifically EAM. In addition, the findings provide an initial insight into the relationship between the extent of use of these practices and organisational performance (environmental and financial).
Design/methodology/approach: Data was collected using a mail survey of 659 manufacturing organisations identified from the Onesource on-line database. A total of 140 completed questionnaires were returned (21.2%), 72 (10.9%) following the initial mail-out, and a further 68 (10.3%) from the follow-up mail-out.
Findings: In respect to the association between EAM and EMSs, this study provides empirical evidence to support the integration of EAM practices with the use of EMSs, suggesting the relationships between the two is bi-directional. In respect to the association between EMSs with environmental and financial performance, while the extent of use of EMSs is not associated with financial performance, there is strong evidence supporting the positive association between EMSs with environmental performance. Further, while there are minimal results regarding the direct association between the three EAM practices and environmental performance, a cyclical relationship between EAM and financial performance is identified.
Originality/value: This study contributes to the literature by providing an empirical insight into the relationship between the extent of adoption of EMSs and the use of EMA. The focus on the relationship between EMSs and EMA is pertinent owing to the sparse research on EMA practices and the “importance of using such [EAM] practices and integrating them within the organisation rather than using them on an ad hoc basis” (Phan et al., 2018, p. 657). This study also contributes to the literature by examining the effectiveness of both practices in respect to their association with environmental and financial performance.
- Environmental activity management
- Environmental management system
- Environmental performance
- Financial performance