Environmental self-regulation: changes of certified companies in Lithuania
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This work examines the phenomenon of self-regulation as a new form of governance in Lithuania. The study is based on one of the most prominent examples of self-regulation in environment protection which is non-governmental certification. This study is designed to answer the question – why companies decide to self-regulate and to adopt voluntary environmental standards and what is their effect. Knowledge of the factors which encourage adoption as well as understanding the effect these schemes have, help to comprehend better the capacity and prospects of this self-regulatory instrument. Theoretical framework of this study is based on four organizational theories and the analytical model, which allows to investigate the effects of certification, was adapted to this research. The empirical study revealed that self-regulation through environmental non-governmental certification is a new phenomenon in Lithuania. Standards’ adoption pattern was mostly influenced by the external pressures from the stakeholders and the company’s wish to inform the outsiders about their environmental commitments. The study also revealed that certification may have not only direct impact, but broader effects as well – both positive and negative unintended consequences. Unintended side effects and the effectiveness of certification are important areas for future research in self-regulation and private environmental governance research.