Is Greener Whiter? The Sustainable Slopes Program and the Voluntary Environmental Performance of Western Ski Areas

Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 417-437, 2004

22 Pages Posted: 9 May 2006

See all articles by Jorge E. Rivera

Jorge E. Rivera

George Washington University - School of Business

Peter De Leon

University of Colorado at Denver

Abstract

This study analyzes the initial implementation of the Sustainable Slopes Program a voluntary environmental initiative established by the U.S. National Ski Areas Association in partnership with federal and state government agencies. Our findings indicate that participation of western ski areas in the Sustainable Slopes Program is related to institutional pressures in the form of enhanced federal oversight and higher state environmental demands exerted by state agencies, local environmental groups and public opinion. The analysis also suggests that, despite these institutional pressures, participant ski areas appear to be correlated with lower third-party environmental performance ratings. This behavior seems to reflect the lack of specific institutional mechanisms to prevent opportunism in the current design of the Sustainable Slopes Program. That is, the program does not involve specific environmental standards, lacks third-party oversight, and does not have sanctions for poor performance.

Keywords: voluntary environmental programs, environmental policy, institutional theory, ski industry, and Sustainable Slopes Program

JEL Classification: K32, M14, Q28, Q26

Suggested Citation

Rivera, Jorge E. and De Leon, Peter, Is Greener Whiter? The Sustainable Slopes Program and the Voluntary Environmental Performance of Western Ski Areas. Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 417-437, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=900147

Jorge E. Rivera (Contact Author)

George Washington University - School of Business ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

Peter De Leon

University of Colorado at Denver ( email )

Box 173364
1250 14th Street
Denver, CO 80217
United States

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