ISO 14001 is an international standard for environmental management systems that was introduced in September 1996. It has gained wide recognition among businesses, much like its sister standard on quality management systems, ISO 9000. As a result, managers in almost every organization will evaluate whether the organization should become ISO 14001 certified. However, most analyses of ISO 14001 intended to guide managers in their evaluation have focused on the merits of ISO 14001, such as improved competitiveness, management control, and regulatory compliance. Very few articles provide a balanced picture of the costs and benefits of ISO 14001-including the conditions under which adoption will be most effective. This article redresses this gap by providing an analysis of not only why firms may choose to certify based on economic and institutional considerations, but also, when certification might be appropriate based on the firm's context.