Ever since the passing of the first major Danish environmental protection law in 1974, environmental regulation has been instrumental in pushing industry towards environmentally less harmful behaviour. However, since the early 1990s, pressure from a growing number of other stakeholders, e.g. suppliers, consumers, NGOs, neighbours, etc., has increasingly pushed industry towards incorporating environmental considerations in their decisions and activities to an extent which justifies placing Danish companies at the cutting edge of industrial greening. This paper addresses the overall process of change, from the point of view of stakeholder theory, from a merely reactive attitude in industry, where companies only tend to respond to stakeholder pressure which cannot be ignored (e.g. ex post responses to one or two stakeholders, such as regulators and customers), towards an increasingly proactive attitude characterised by ex ante responses to several strategic groups of stakeholders (including NGOs, employees, neighbours, etc.). The present situation is illustrated by the findings in two recent surveys concerning perceived stakeholder influence in relation to environmental management initiatives in Danish industrial companies. These findings are discussed in the light of similar reported results and case studies of companies which are reportedly pioneers in the introduction of environmental initiatives from a number of EU countries. Implications for theory, practice and training are addressed at the end of the paper.
Contemporary Nordic Research in Corporate Environmental Management, 1999
Stakeholder management; Environmental management; The DEMS project