Search for Environmental Management System (EMS) Implementation Differences Among Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Clean Texas Program Members: Are Internal Organizational Characteristics Important?



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Environmental Management System (EMS), a voluntary program policy tool, was designed to encourage environmental performance above minimum regulatory compliance levels. In the United States, federal and state regulatory agencies have experimented with EMS, patterned after the ISO 14001 standard. Some EMS research indicated a link to tangible improvements in environmental compliance and performance, while other EMS research suggested a link to improved internal capacity for environmental management. The organizational conditions in which EMS may lead to improved environmental compliance and performance are not clearly understood. Internal organizational characteristics may influence successful implementation and use of an EMS. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) developed a voluntary environmental program, Clean Texas, to encourage private and public entities to implement EMS and to improve environmental performance. Membership at the higher Gold and Platinum levels requires a third-party certified EMS program, while the lowest Bronze level does not require a certified EMS. Differences between ownership structure types, private (business) or public (municipal and/or federal), and internal environmental management differences might influence successful EMS implementation and potentially guide future EMS implementation strategies. This study surveyed 2008 Clean Texas member entities to search for differences related to internal environmental management structure, EMS implementation, upper management support, and perception of the EMS tool and its benefits to the organization. Results of the statistical and descriptive analyses provided some evidence that differences do exist between ownership structure types and Clean Texas levels. Evidence for significant differences in the internal environmental management structure, the EMS implementation process, and the level of management support was found between municipal, federal, and business ownership structure types. Municipal entities in general reported lower levels of participation, communication, and progression in the EMS implementation process. Results indicated a significant difference in the perception of EMS by Platinum level members. These results might indicate that the process of EMS implementation and certification foster increased participation, internal communication, and internal capacity for environmental improvement over time.