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Voluntary Environmental Programs in the United States: Whose Interests are Served?

Organization & Environment, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2006

22 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2007 Last revised: 4 May 2010

Toddi A. Steelman

University of Saskatchewan

Jorge E. Rivera

George Washington University - School of Business

Abstract

The appeal of voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) lies in their promise to mutually serve government, industry, and environmental interests since 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 been leveled at VEPs in the United States. If VEPs are used to serve some interests at the expense of others, VEPs 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 Instruments, Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Slopes Program

JEL Classification: K32, M14, Q28, Q26

Suggested Citation

Steelman, Toddi A. and Rivera, Jorge E., Voluntary Environmental Programs in the United States: Whose Interests are Served?. Organization & Environment, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=958946

Toddi A. Steelman

University of Saskatchewan ( email )

School of Environment and Sustainability
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A7
Canada

Jorge E. Rivera (Contact Author)

George Washington University - School of Business ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

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