Environmental Management Systems (EMS) implementation processes and practices in European higher education institutions - Top-down versus participatory approaches

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a b s t r a c t Environmental Management Systems (EMS) have been implemented on a large scale to improve companies' environmental performance and to certify their achievements. More recently, universities are following this trend, which has been brought forward by the debate about campus sustainability. This empirical international research investigates EMS development and implementation processes in universities around Europe, providing an overview about European higher education institutions with EMS implemented at their campuses, and focuses on a comparison of top-down versus participatory implementation approaches. In addition to regional differences, this article discusses in which aspects an EMS at the campus can be seen as a tool that goes beyond operational aspects to tackle campus sustainability. Furthermore, it provides implications for the professional practice.