Environmental management systems and the Third Sector: exploring weak adoption in the UK

Edwards, Rebecca, Smith, Graham and Buchs, Milena (2013) Environmental management systems and the Third Sector: exploring weak adoption in the UK. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 31, (1), 119-133. (doi:10.1068/c11123).


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The environment has become an increasingly prominent consideration across the third sector in the UK. However, while there has been an ‘audit explosion’ in relation
to demonstrating the social mission of third sector organisations (TSOs), this has not transferred to the management of environmental impacts. This paper offers the first assessment of the development and adoption of environmental management systems (EMSs) across the third sector. Through a comparison with the experience of the private sector, analysis of key documents, interviews with third sector and government actors, and case studies of TSOs that have applied and/or adapted EMSs, the paper provides evidence of a relatively low level of innovation in this area. The paper concludes with reflections on the tensions associated with the future development of EMSs across the third sector, in particular the ambiguous role of government policy.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1068/c11123
ISSNs: 0263-774X (print)
1472-3425 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations
ePrint ID: 336272
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2012 16:54
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:25
Third Sector Research Centre
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-595-28-0001)
Led by: Peter Alcock
1 September 2008 to 31 March 2014
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/336272

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