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Do voluntary environmental programs reduce emissions? EMAS in the German manufacturing sector

: Kube, R.; Graevenitz, K. von; Löschel, A.; Massier, P.


Energy Economics 84 (2019), Supplement 1, Art. 104558
ISSN: 0140-9883
Atlantic Workshop on Energy and Environmental Economics (AWEEE) <8, 2018, Toxa/Galicia>
Journal Article, Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IMW ()

Voluntary environmental management programs for firms are a popular instrument of environmental policy. However, the effectiveness of such programs is ambiguous based on the existing literature. We evaluate the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) introduced in 1995 by the European Union. EMAS is a premium certification of continuous pro-environmental efforts above regulatory minimum standards. It is more demanding than other voluntary programs as it requires publication of annual reports by firms on their environmental performance and targets. We use official firm-level production census data on the German manufacturing sector. Our research design combines the Coarsened Exact Matching approach with a Difference-in-Differences estimation. We find weak evidence of reductions in CO2 intensity by about 9 percent for firms that were certified in the early years of the program. For firms certified in later years we find no statistically significant evidence of emission reductions. Moreover, we find no statistically significant evidence of higher investments in environmental and climate protection or an increased use of renewable energy sources for certified firms.