An empirical study on the driving mechanism of proactive corporate environmental management in China

In Journal of Environmental Management
Peer-reviewed Article

Environmentalism in China is under transformation from the traditional command and control model to emphasize the advantages of economic tools and encourage the participation of the public. Firms are much more aware of the importance of environmental issues, and some of them have practiced environmental activities beyond compliance. In order to help understand the driving mechanism of proactive corporate environmental behaviors from the firm’s perspective, this paper identifies the drivers affecting the proactive environmental management level (EMLp) based on the institutional theory, and gives an empirical study on the firms based in Changshu city of Jiangsu Province, China. The usable data, collected from the 117 valid respondents in a questionnaire survey, indicates that EMLp is still moderately low currently. Less than 10% of the samples are practicing all the six categorized types of voluntary environmental activities. The econometric exercise confirms a significantly positive effect of the externally mimetic pressure on EMLp, which may attribute to a higher sensitivity of Chinese companies to the market factors. However, the roles of the general public and industrial associations are not significant, showing the marginal power of selected normative pressures. Regarding internal factors, firms, which view environmental issues as opportunities and often arrange internal environmental training, are more likely to adopt proactive environmental activities. More concerns from the general public like neighborhood communities and mass media shall be addressed to enhance the normative power to improve EMLp in China from the future perspective.

Beibei Liu
Qinqin Yu
Jun Bi
Tetsuro Fujitsuka