Today more regulatory provisions are in place for protecting low-income minority populations who shoulder a disproportionate amount of environmental risk. Recognized as communities of “environmental justice, ” industrial facilities located within these areas bear greater legal liabilities for and social scrutiny of their environmental impacts. The authors offer compelling evidence that, in an effort to avoid regulatory and social claims that they are disproportionately harming minorities and ethnic populations, businesses operating inside environmental justice communities tend to adopt an environmental management system (EMS). The article probes whether industries actually improve the environment as a consequence of EMS adoption or whether such systems are simply used to avoid greater governmental scrutiny without necessarily reducing overall environmental risks.
Edwards Jr. D & Darnall N. 2010. Averting environmental justice claims? The role of environmental management systems. Public Administration Review70(3), 422-433.