Environ maya2013 - unicode, maya >= 2015 - str

import os
print type(os.environ['PATH'])

In maya2013 result is unicode, maya2015 and above str.
maya2013 somehow reimplements dict.__setitem__
That’s why some modules of pyblish-qml coulnd`t work with maya2013.
Hope that info will be helpfull in debugging.

Thanks @sega, would it be possible to post the contents of your PATH variable? That would be most helpful.

Unfortunately i can`t. But it fully convertable to str format.