How to control environmental strategy?

Garzella Stefano, Fiorentino Raffaele

The present paper aims at understanding which “environmental measures” are used in corporate reports and how firms might control the environmental strategy. We propose a framework for the control of the strategic management of environmental issues. This framework is used for an empirical investigation of both social and annual reports of a sample of large public firms. By using content analysis, our findings show: i) a focus on strategy formulation and strategy implementation more than on environmental results; ii) the most relevant key value drivers and performance indicators in firms’ reporting; iii) a positive association between information on environmental value drivers and performance indicators and firm sector. Indeed, we offer some relevant insights on the relative absence of indicators of competitive advantage and on the predominant use of environmental qualitative and/or non-financial measures. This evidence suggests a lack of consideration as for the relationship between environmental strategies and environmental results and, at the same time, a high variability and limited standardization in environmental practices with implications for both internal and external stakeholders’ view. For the internal stakeholders, it seems that the actual environmental strategy control systems need to develop models and tools with reference to the relationship between environmental performance and financial effects. For external ones, the actual limits in the reporting of environmental measures pose the need for an increase in the comparability of environmental performance. Furthermore, by integrating theoretical and empirical findings, we suggest some potential improvements for environmental strategy performance measurement systems.

Garzella S., Fiorentino R. (2013), How to control environmental strategy?, Management Con-trol, 1, pp. 45-76, Doi: 10.3280/MACO2013-001004