Studies show that many small and medium businesses (SMBs) that have implemented environmental management systems (EMSs) and got certified to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard experienced obstacles along the way. For SMBs the standards appear unnecessarily bureaucratic, and represent a way of working that fits poorly into their organizational cultures and decision-making structures of small companies. Studies also show that environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 provide a framework for organizations that wish to effectively manage their environmental affairs. Implementing an EMS that conforms to the ISO 14001 standard helps businesses integrate environmental values into their operations.

This research helps bridge the gap between EMS theory and business practices in SMBs. Its specific goal was to determine how SMBs developed and implemented operational controls in ISO 14001 type environmental management systems in order to help similar SMB's achieve successful EMS implementation. This thesis identifies the problems that small enterprises experience when they develop and implement operational controls, and examines the approaches that are used to overcome different barriers. It also looks at how different factors interact to facilitate the implementation and certification of EMSs in small enterprises. The main focus of the study is on the US, but some relevant data has been collected from sources outside US.

The main outcomes of the thesis are:

  • A description of various methodologies that are used in order to develop and implement operational controls in SMBs
  • An analysis of the positive and negative aspects of these methods and
  • Recommendations for "Best Practices" to implement operational control in SMBs
  • Recommendations on how to effectively develop and implement operational controls in SMBs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Small business--Environmental aspects; Production management--Environmental aspects; Business enterprises--Environmental aspects; ISO 14001 Standard

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Environmental, Health and Safety Management (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CAST)


John Morelli

Advisor/Committee Member

Maureen Valentine

Advisor/Committee Member

Joseph Rosenbeck


"I, Kuldeep Khalsa hereby state that no part of this thesis may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author."

Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at HD30.255 .K43 2003


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