Comparing Environmental Management and Strategies of Companies in the United Kingdom and Germany

Activity: Talk or presentationConference PresentationsResearch

Walter Wehrmeyer - Speaker

Marcus Wagner - Speaker

Carlos Pacheco - Speaker

Stefan Schaltegger - Speaker

This paper compares environmental management activities and strategies towards the environment in Germany and the United Kingdom (UK), and assesses the influence of the national and sectoral contexts on these. The empirical part consists of 4,000 questionnaires sent to companies in both countries with 171 and 214 replies from Germany and the UK, respectively. The main results show that stakeholder pressures were very similar in the UK and Germany. Given that, it is a surprise to see how the observable environmental routines and the subsequent environmental strategies differ so remarkably. Overall, five such routines could be crystallised; all show higher levels of agreement in the UK, suggesting greater homogeneity of responses and strategies rather than a “better” performance of companies from one country or another. There are also size- and sector-specific strategies that are discussed in the paper.

The study provides important insights into the way companies in the UK and
Germany respond to environmental expectations. It could be shown that there are
no principal - or even principled - differences between companies from the two
countries, but only differences in degrees and the way Environmental Management is enacted. This supports other studies that have shown that the motives, rationales, pressures and obstacles may differ between the two countries, but that the routines and actions as well as the strategic framework show no discernible material preferences. It is unlikely that corporate environmental strategies follow a unique development path, they appear strongly shaped by national and sectoral contexts.
Given that so far, almost all deductive Corporate Environmental Strategies (CES)
typologies that can be found in the literature are not including such contexts,
further research seems to be necessary to establish to what degree this claim can be upheld. In addition, the wider ethical, social, economic and technological bases of such strategies should be explored.


10th International Conference of the Greening of Industry Network - 2002: Corporate Social Responsibility & Governance for Sustainability


Göteborg, Sweden

Event: Conference