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Oregon Business Decisions for Environmental Performance

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Due to data collection difficulties, few analyses of corporate environmental behavior have measured environmental performance. Most studies examine firms' motivations to adopt certain practices or participate in voluntary programs, either of which may not deliver environmental performance. The proposed research will address this gap in knowledge and policy with primary data from Oregon businesses.

Objective:
(1) Examine the environmentally friendly practices adopted by a sample of Oregon firms and the motivations for their adoption. In particular, we will examine the effects of firm and industry characteristics, regulatory pressures, and voluntary environmental program features. (2) Examine the impact of adoption of environmental practices on environmental performance of firms. Environmental performance will be measured by levels of toxic releases, releases of criteria air pollutants, water pollutant emissions, the non-compliance status of firms, adoption of process modifications or product redesigns, and other relevant factors. (3) Determine the features of voluntary programs that contribute both directly and indirectly to improvements in environmental performance. For example, the potential for preempting regulatory threats or obtaining public recognition by participating in voluntary programs could have both a direct impact on a firm’s environmental performance and an indirect effect.

Approach:
The investigators will use a polychotomous-choice selectivity model to test the influences of firm, industry, regulatory and voluntary program factors on environmental practice decisions and the multiple elements of environmental performance. The model permits the simultaneous analysis of factors influencing the adoption of individual environmental practices and performance elements, and corrects for self-selection bias. Primary data from a random sample of approximately 1,000 Oregon firms will be collected to describe their practice use, regulatory constraints, program participation, and environmental performance. Sector-specific reports will be given to respondents to help achieve the desired response rate. Industry focus groups and a group of expert advisers will assist the research team in the study design, survey and analysis.

Expected Results:
The project findings will provide scientific evidence on the factors that are shaping voluntary corporate environmental behavior and performance in Oregon. Previous studies have been limited by case study approaches or incomplete data. The finds will identify the firm, industry and regulatory factors likely to result in efficacious practices in different business settings, and inform the design of public and private voluntary program features that are likely to foster improved environmental performance.

Supplemental Keywords:
socio-economic; public policy; pollution prevention. , ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Geographic Area, INDUSTRY, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Corporate Performance, Economics & Decision Making, Economics and Business, Environmental Law, Reinvention, Small Businesses, State, decision-making, Oregon, benefits assessment, compliance assistance, compliance costs, corporate environmental behavior, corporate evironmental reform, cost benefit, cost/benefit analysis, decision analysis, decision making, economic incentives, environmental decision making, environmental policy, incentives, polchotomas choice selectivity model, policy making

Metadata

EPA/NSF ID:
R831034
Principal Investigators:
Ervin, David E.
Khanna, Madhu
Koss, Patricia
Wu, Junjie
Technical Liaison:
Research Organization:
Portland State University
Oregon State University
Illinois at Urbana, University of
Funding Agency/Program:
EPA/ORD/Corporate Performance
Grant Year:
2002
Project Period:
October 1, 2003 to September 30, 2006
Cost to Funding Agency:
$251,973
Project Status Reports:
Project Reports:

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