Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a snapshot of environmental management practices in the UK and discuss managerial responses to environmental issues in comparison with earlier research.
Design/methodology/approach – A telephone interview survey approach is adopted encompassing both quantitative and qualitative open-ended questions with a sample of 167 UK companies stratified by firm size and industry sector.
Findings – The majority of firms are undertaking efforts to reduce their environmental impacts, yet economic considerations such as cost and risk reductions and achieving compliance with environmental legislation dominate firms' environmental behaviour. Especially small and medium-sized firms appear to rely on relatively short-term planning horizons, which ultimately prevent them from becoming more proactive in their environmental outlook. Comparison with earlier studies suggests that the overall behaviour of firms towards environmental issues remains reactive and economically-oriented.
Research limitations/implications – Despite the growing salience of many environmental challenges, businesses fail to employ more proactive environmental strategies, suggesting that more has to be done at policy level to stimulate the incentives involved with adopting such an approach.
Originality/value – By using a mixed methods approach the paper aims to overcome problems of respondent identification and social desirability bias.