Motivating Private Climate Governance: The Role of the Efficiency Gap

15 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2018

Date Written: July 19, 2018


In response to the shrinking federal role in environmental protection, many policy advocates have focused on the role of states and cities, but this symposium focuses on another important source of sustainability initiatives: the private sector, including corporations, households, civic and cultural organizations, religious organizations, private hospitals, colleges and universities, and other organizations. States, cities, and local governments are increasingly important, but the limited geographic reach of subnational governments and widespread concerns about the size and intrusiveness of the public sector constrain their ability to address many environmental problems. Private governance initiatives offer an opportunity to bypass concerns about big government and fill the gap. Although private initiatives cannot draw on the coercive power and resources of government, if these initiatives can accelerate efficiency gains in the private sector, they can motivate mitigation efforts even absent government action. This brief keynote address explores the literature on the size of the efficacy gap and the implications for private climate mitigation initiatives.

Keywords: climate change, private sector, private governance, climate mitigation initiatives, environmental law

Suggested Citation

Vandenbergh, Michael P., Motivating Private Climate Governance: The Role of the Efficiency Gap (July 19, 2018). Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 18-35, Available at SSRN: or

Michael P. Vandenbergh (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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