This study describes and interprets differences in stakeholder interaction as rhetorically constructed in environmental reports and in interviews with environmental managers. It also interprets the role of the natural environment among stakeholders, and discusses how that role is justified or not justified. The study focuses in a business perspective on stakeholder interaction in environmental management. Characteristically, stakeholder studies of environmental management have concentrated on stakeholder influence or the creation of stakeholder management models. In contrast to those, the present study identifies different types of stakeholder relationships: power-based, collaborative, conflicting, and one-sided. Through descriptions of those relationships, business actors participate in the power to define responsibility, share responsibility among actors, question environmental interest, and justify environmental impacts. The results of the study demonstrate that, when regarding environmental issues in business, instead of analysing single stakeholder attributes or a single stakeholder relationship, business professionals should be able to manage differences in stakeholder relationships. No universal stakeholder management tools can be created for this purpose, rather stakeholder interaction in environmental management requires analysis of the actors involved, the attributes of relationships, and the attributes of stakeholder interests and identification of differences in those. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.