Private Environmental Governance (Encyclopedia Chapter)
Environmental Decision Making, Encyclopedia of Environmental Law, Lee Paddock, Robert L. Glicksman, and Nicholas S. Bryner eds., Edward Elgar, 2016
17 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015 Last revised: 6 Jan 2017
Date Written: August 17, 2015
In the last two decades, private environmental governance has emerged as an important component of environmental law and policy. Private environmental governance occurs when private organizations perform the environmental functions typically assigned to governments, such as management of common pool resources and reduction of negative environmental externalities. Private initiatives include standard-setting bilaterally through contract and collectively through industry associations or multi-stakeholder processes, as well as unilateral actions in response to pressure by non-governmental third parties. Private initiatives exist in parallel to many public environmental laws in subject-matter areas, including laws on fisheries, forests, toxics, and disclosure of facility-, project-, and firm-specific environmental effects. Private governance instruments also often parallel the instruments that government actors employ to achieve environmental objectives (such as prescriptive rules, property rights or entitlements, market instruments and informational governance). The emergence of private governance has generated important research questions regarding the drivers of consumer and corporate behavior, spillover effects, comparative institutional analysis, private administrative law, and the ability of private governance to address important unresolved environmental issues in areas such as climate change, hydraulic fracturing, and non-point source water pollution from agricultural runoff.
Keywords: Private governance, private regulation, private politics, instrument choice, environmental law
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