Chapter 6: Firms’ Rationales: Environmental Reporting
[N]orms prompt justification for action and leave an extensive trail of communication among actors that we can study. (Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998: 892) In Chapters 4 and 5, state regulations and market forces were considered as the key material factors impacting on the car industry. In Chapter 4, it was shown that institutional factors determine the environmental performance of the industry in the European Union, United States and Japan more than regulations themselves. Market mechanisms do not necessarily encourage consumers to use their cars less, nor purchase less fuel. It cannot be said that they are clearly a mechanism for encouraging firms to change their product strategies. And neither the timing, nor stringency, of standards is as important as the institutional context of state–business relations which inform their development. In Chapter 5, it was shown that although strong social concern for the environment exists in Germany, the US and Japan, willingness to act on this is by no means universal, and social attitudes are not necessarily reflected in consumer demand. For Germany, there is strong concern for the environment, willingness to act on this concern, and demonstration of this via actual consumer demand. In the US, there is a reasonably strong willingness to act on environmental concern, but not in markets. This is associated with little demonstration of this willingness in practice via consumer preferences. For Japan, the opposite situation to the US is the case. Concern for the environment and willingness to act on this concern are...
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