S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 36 Number 1/2 (2013)
환경경영표준의 내재화와 한국정부의 역할
The Internalization of ISO14000 in Korea and the Role of Government
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.36 No.1, pp. 153-193
- ISO14000; Environmental Management; Framing; Norm Internationalization; EMS; International Standard
- This paper focuses on the process of acceptance and internalization of the ISO14000 norm. Published by the International Organization of Standard (ISO), ISO14000 is an international environmental standard which characterized as non-governmental and voluntary. It pursues both sustainable development which is concerned to environmental improvement and harmonization of different regional environmental standards which encourages free-trade by hindering trade barriers.
The Government of the Republic of Korea accepted and legitimated ISO14000 by an environment-friendly political frame through the “Conversion to an Environmental Friendly Industrial Structure Act” and began to introduce the ISO1400 standard within the industrial structure of the country through diverse policies. Further on, with active governmental support, national corporations have also certificated the ISO14001, one of the representative norm of the ISO14000 series, which regulates the Environmental Management System (EMS).
This paper states that the process of internationalization of the ISO14000 standard is basically profit-interest based. Korea’s economic growth is highly interrelated with its dependance on international trade and thus, the paper argues that the national export industry would have been negatively affected if such regulations were not adopted. Although the different governments in charge, during the whole internalization process had differed on the relevance of the environmental issues, they all had in common a particular interest on improving the exportation competitiveness of national products by adopting ISO14001. This explains why in Korea, the ISO14000 is a standard required for products able to trade with foreign countries and confirms this study’s argument that the adoption of the standard is in line with the need of overcoming barriers to international trade rather than on protection of the environment.
A deeper analysis demonstrates that ISO14000 process of internalization was actually a process of localization, by meaning that the standard was framed in accordance to preexistent norm, namely developmentalism, which inclined the framing of the norms towards the trade issue.
Moreover, an empirical study of the tendency of national companies towards adoption of an ISO14001, demonstrates that international trade-oriented companies were more leaned towards its adoption. These results were consistent with governmental pro-trade policies and an profit-based interest on acquiring and maintaininginternational standard for better access to foreign markets.
Nonetheless, the ISO14001 certification in the Korean industries did not cease here but it get diffused through a hierarchical arrangement, from major to middle and small enterprises and from export-lean to domestic companies. Hence, despite government policies actively emphasized the relevance of the internalization of this standard mainly on export and trade, once ISO14001 was adopted, local agents did play a role in fueling the diffusion of it within domestic companies.