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
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: Suggested Citation