We describe a simple mechanism for achieving two goals: (1) to encourage firms to take environmentally friendly action, and (2) to make environmental protection impervious to political change. We assert that there is wide evidence now that firms adopting an environmental management system (EMS) like ISO 14001 improve their environmental performance. This is because ISO 14001's third-party audits reduce the chance firms will fully fail to comply with regulations, and the EMS procedure reduces the chances firms will be in noncompliance due to ignorance. Our mechanism is intended to harness the power of EMS systems within firms, while reducing the chances that political change will nullify our solution. We argue that to achieve these goals, governments should make firms' participation in public procurement programs contingent on their adoption of an EMS such as ISO 14001.
In recent years scholars have highlighted the public policy potential of using voluntary programs based on environmental management systems (EMS) to improve firms' environmental and regulatory performance. While firms receive some benefits for joining EMS-based voluntary programs, these incentives could be strengthened if governments mandated joining such programs as a precondition for participating in government procurement. While we support Arnold and Whitford's proposal to use public procurement eligibility criteria to induce firms to take environmentally progressive action, we have concerns about using any EMS or EMS-based voluntary program for these purposes. EMS-based programs must impose real requirements on firms and must have in place monitoring systems to ensure that such requirements are met. Only then will EMS-programs likely be effective as well as credible with stakeholders.
This paper analyzes how the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a global regime governing trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is influencing agricultural biotechnology policy choices in developing countries/emerging economies. Through empirical analysis of Mexico, China and South Africa, we examine whether discursive and/or institutional change has followed the negotiation and implementation of the Cartagena Protocol in these countries. We find that, although trade and market competitiveness concerns are driving biotechnology policy choices in all three cases, a precautionary biosafety discourse has gained greater legitimacy as a result of the Cartagena Protocol, empowering those domestically who voice such concerns. Related to that, debates and/or decision-making processes in this controversial area have become more inclusive in all three countries—an important influence of the Cartagena Protocol. We also find persisting regulatory diversity rather than harmonization of biosafety regulatory frameworks in our three countries, with international trade linkages and domestic politics playing an important mediating role in determining Protocol influence.
As a tool for making decisions about long-term environmental policy, environmental economics does not work on its own terms. It works well as a tool for analyzing environmental policy given clear, exogenously defined costs and benefits. As such, environmental economics can work well as a tool for analyzing policy in the short term. But many of the most salient issues in international environmental politics are salient specifically because they have a fundamental long-term component. Economic tools have trouble pricing environmental goods, and the farther the cost element of cost/benefit analysis is projected into the future, particularly through the analytical tool of the discount rate, the less reliable estimates are likely to be. At a certain point, the compounding of this decreasing reliability makes the cost estimates analytically counterproductive. As such, this paper concludes that fundamental decisions about the relationship between economic activity and the natural environment in the long term need to be informed by ecocentric rather than economic thinking.
Recent years have seen a substantial increase in investor-state disputes. In many cases matters of public interest, including environmental regulations, are being tried. While it is crucial to assess the outcomes of investor-state disputes that involve matters of public policy, the procedures followed in investment arbitration make this difficult and, in some cases, impossible. This is relevant not only for researchers, but also crucially for regulators. This article focuses on how the lack of transparency in arbitration, and the lack of consistency of tribunal decisions, creates uncertainty for regulators. This uncertainty, when combined with the financial risk involved in proceeding to arbitration, may create situations in which the threat of an investment dispute is sufficient to convince a government to reverse, amend or fail to enforce an environmental regulation—a phenomenon referred to as regulatory chill. These issues are explored in an Indonesian case involving a dispute over mining contracts in protected forests.
This article analyses the complex interconnections between global environmental politics and trade politics against the background of biodiversity politics. Genetic resources are one of the most important inputs in post-Fordist economies: they are the raw materials of the new biotechnology companies. The system of global environmental governance that has emerged in recent years was established by a number of international institutions and organizations to serve as a political-institutional framework for emerging global markets. To date, this system has not proved to be an effective regulative framework. On the contrary, it is highly contradictory and contested. We develop theoretical and empirical arguments why and in which form the transforming national state remains crucial in global environmental politics. We call this transformation the "internationalization of the state." It is argued that the emerging post-Fordist relationships with nature, as a highly contested process, are stabilized by a new kind of global political regulation and domination. This article is theoretically informed by the concept of "societal relationships with nature," regulation and critical state theory as well as Gramsci's concept of hegemony.