Industry's Responses Towards Increasing Demand for Environmental Sustainability: A Longitudinal Study

H. Madsen and J.P. Ulhøi




With increasing population and economic growth and related demand for energy and natural resources as well, pollution, waste production and environmental sustainability have become issues of uttermost importance. For quite some time self-regulation, i.e. industry’s voluntary implementation of environmental managements and reporting systems and cleaner technologies, has been vigorously embraced by industry as the preferred choice. However, no clear picture of industry’s responses towards pollution reduction was available two decades ago. In consequence, a longitudinal research project was initiated in the early 1990s to investigate this situation. A pre-tested and structured questionnaire has been sent out to a random sample of industrial firms in Denmark in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. The overall question guiding this research is: how does industry respond to the environmental challenge? The paper concludes that despite the apparent attractiveness of self-regulation in industry, voluntary options tend not to be widely adopted thus pointing to a continued strong need for an effective regulation of industry’s environmental and climatically related behaviour.

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