Business and Climate Policy

The Potentials and Pitfalls of Private Voluntary Programs

image of Business and Climate Policy
Climate change has become one of the most important and challenging global policy fields. Attention has primarily focused on the successes and failures of states and intergovernmental organizations but many more actors are involved and contribute solutions. The contributions to this book assess the different potentials of existing schemes. They scrutinize how very different programs at national and international levels seek to marry complex public and private goals in and across industries addressing wide groups of firms. Lessons from these programs can help design and improve programs but they also show different types of pitfalls. Lessons learned are relevant not only for climate policy, but for the many other policy fields where private voluntary programs are active.



Cross-sectoral and multisectoral programs

Private voluntary programs for environmental improvement expanded rapidly in both number and scope over the past decade, particularly at the international level. At present, a wide range of international “green” initiatives is available to firms, including those specifically geared toward mitigating climate change. Voluntary climate programs range from those targeted at specific production sectors such as automobiles, food or forests, dealt with later in this book, to those that cut across sectors, such as measures that embrace the financial industry and its practices. Because financial firms are the gatekeepers to capital for the real economy, they represent leverage points that have significant influence across the economy as a whole. Voluntary private programs such as these are increasingly promoted by states as viable means by which to promote sustainable development. Despite this attention, it is still unclear whether participation in private voluntary programs results in significant improvements in the environmental performance of firms.


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