Extending environmental management beyond the firm boundaries: An empirical study of Dutch food and beverage firms

E. Grekova, H.J. Bremmers, J.H. Trienekens, R.G.M. Kemp, S.W.F. Omta

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49 Citations (Scopus)


Consumer demand for environmental sustainability and for affordable prices calls for cooperation and information exchange in food chains to reduce joint environmental impact, known as externally-oriented environmental management (E-EM). E-EM is increasingly regarded as a management tool to simultaneously improve environmental, operational, and business performance. Understanding the factors that influence managers to develop E-EM helps to design environmentally and economically sustainable food chains. The prior research regarding these factors is not exhaustive and demanded a multi-period approach. This study expands the understanding of the factors that influence managers to develop E-EM with a multi-period empirical research. We address the effects of external institutional pressures (regulative, normative, and culturally-cognitive) and the level of in-company environmental management (I-EM) on E-EM, which involves information exchange in the chain, cooperation with suppliers and customers. The analysis relies on survey data of 255 and 96 Dutch food and beverage (F&B) processors from 2002 and 2010 respectively. The findings indicate that respondents have considerably improved I-EM over time. I-EM requires in-company pzrocedures ranging from environmental strategy formulation to the managerial review of achieved results to assure continuous improvement of environmental performance. F&B processors that had already achieved a high level of I-EM are more likely to develop E-EM. Also growing normative and culturally-cognitive pressures from supply chain partners and increasingly from long-term public–private environmental covenants significantly influenced E-EM implementation. However, regulative pressure from public authorities had no impact. It appeared that E-EM is influenced mostly by institutional pressures when the firms are less experienced with I-EM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-187
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • supply-chain management
  • resource-based view
  • institutional pressures
  • energy efficiency
  • performance
  • green
  • model
  • industry
  • drivers
  • system


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