Towards a Governance Structure for Sustainable Development
ESRI Studies Series on the Environment
Edited by Raimund Bleischwitz and Peter Hennicke
Chapter 3: Emerging regulatory policies for eco-efficiency
Raimund Bleischwitz, Stephan Moll, Stefan Bringezu, Dirk Assmann, Manfred Fischedick, Stefan Thomas, Holger Wallbaum and Rainer Lucas 3.1 INTRODUCTION As outlined earlier, the eco-efficiency revolution is not going to happen unless the framework conditions for doing business are changed towards innovationinducing regulation.1 Eco-efficiency must become profitable. To an astonishing extent, however, eco-efficiency is already profitable now. Eco-pioneers and those companies undergoing eco-auditing procedures have discovered that they gain through innovations as well as through transparency of the link between materials and energy on the one hand and financial and knowledge flows on the other. It is nevertheless to be feared that the possibilities for resource productivity and a Factor Four (or Ten) will be limited if the present market conditions prevail. Thus market deficits have to be addressed by regulatory policies. Economic incentives, such as eco-taxes or tradable permits, are eligible candidates for those policies that harness market forces to the business level. Sometimes, however, they fail to meet specific information deficits, adaptation problems, path dependencies or institutional inertia. A cross-cutting policy mix offers advantages that outperform single instruments. Research is required to choose from different policy designs and to select criteria that help policy makers in their decision. Three core criteria suggested in our study are the following: • the efficiency of regulatory tools for different industries (for example SMEs) and the economy as a whole (internalization of external effects), • the effectiveness regarding environmental targets, and • the adaptation flexibility, which is useful to consider for necessary improvements and for unforeseeable...
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