Purpose – This paper presents an analysis of the influence of “Joint Environmental Policy-making” (JEP) in the operation of the company Smurfit Kappa (SK) in The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark (NL&AD). The paper aims to answer the question: to what extend has different levels of jointness and voluntariness of cardboard packaging-chain agreements between federal, governmental and business actors led to different recycling performances within the same company? Design/methodology/approach – JEP's analysis was framed under the model described by Mol, Volkmar and Liefferink by using information from mixed-methods throughout a semi-structured questionnaire for interviews and revision of relevant secondary data. This is a case of cross-national comparison for which origin and implementation level of JEPs were described per country, in accordance with those stages of the cardboard production chain. Findings – Jointness and voluntariness amongst other actors from governmental areas and business ranked high for the Dutch packaging-chain agreements with a visible impact in SK's recycling rates. SK in Austria and in Denmark, in this order, had a lower implementation level of JEPs which could be reflected in a lower recycling performance than in the Dutch SK subsidiaries. The context matters, including both political and social conditions. In particular, the role of householders as a last link in the recycling chain. Based on this, the selected countries share some societal characteristics associated with the environmental public awareness and active social participation. Originality/value – This paper fulfills an analysis of how environmental policy making is affected by the country context within the same company.