Numerous studies discuss the role of environmental reporting to communicate legislative compliance, but few papers focus on the waste treatment sector, where clear communication is crucial for companies to legitimize management strategies. To fill this gap, an explorative study focusing on solid waste treatment by Italian companies registered with the European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme was conducted. The aim of the research is to discover if and how these companies inform external stakeholders about compliance with environmental legislation in (1) assessing environmental aspects, (2) planning environmental objectives, and (3) monitoring environmental performance. Forty-nine Italian companies were selected, and their Environmental Statements were analyzed. The results prove that environmental reporting of Italian companies frequently includes an explicit reference to legislative compliance in planning environmental objectives; however, rarely legal compliance is assumed as criterion to assess environmental aspects and to monitor environmental performance. Comparing these results with other recent studies, some conflicting findings emerge: the risks derived by the lack of explicit information on legal compliance in environmental reporting are discussed, and recommendations to assure transparency and credibility of reporting are underlined. Final propositions and future perspectives for practitioners and scientists conclude the paper, which contributes to the debate about the adequacy of external communication of environmental management systems in waste treatment sector.

External communication on legal compliance by Italian waste treatment companies

Toniolo S.
2020

Abstract

Numerous studies discuss the role of environmental reporting to communicate legislative compliance, but few papers focus on the waste treatment sector, where clear communication is crucial for companies to legitimize management strategies. To fill this gap, an explorative study focusing on solid waste treatment by Italian companies registered with the European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme was conducted. The aim of the research is to discover if and how these companies inform external stakeholders about compliance with environmental legislation in (1) assessing environmental aspects, (2) planning environmental objectives, and (3) monitoring environmental performance. Forty-nine Italian companies were selected, and their Environmental Statements were analyzed. The results prove that environmental reporting of Italian companies frequently includes an explicit reference to legislative compliance in planning environmental objectives; however, rarely legal compliance is assumed as criterion to assess environmental aspects and to monitor environmental performance. Comparing these results with other recent studies, some conflicting findings emerge: the risks derived by the lack of explicit information on legal compliance in environmental reporting are discussed, and recommendations to assure transparency and credibility of reporting are underlined. Final propositions and future perspectives for practitioners and scientists conclude the paper, which contributes to the debate about the adequacy of external communication of environmental management systems in waste treatment sector.
Environmental management system
Environmental reporting
Environmental statement
European environmental management and audit scheme
Legislative compliance
Waste treatment plant
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1055711
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