Voluntary Environmental Programs in the United States: Whose Interests are Served
Organization & Environment, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 505-526, December, 2006
22 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 20, 2011
The appeal of voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) lies in their promise to mutually serve government, industry, and environmental interests because they can reduce administrative burdens, provide flexibility to decide how to implement environmental improvements, and work toward superior environmental performance. In practice, however, one interest may be served to the exclusion of others, and this is a charge that often has beenleveled at VEPs in the United States. If VEPs are used to serve some interests at the expense of others, they are likely to lose their value as alternative policy instruments. This article details a framework involving procedural, substantive, and practical tests to determine whether the common interest has been served. This assessment framework is applied to two different VEPs in the United States: the Forest Stewardship Council Certification and the Sustainable Slopes Program.
Keywords: voluntary environmental programs, common interest, alternative regulatory
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