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Chapter 24: Private Actors and Strategies in Global Environmental Governance: The Role of Information Disclosure
David L. Levy From carbon trading to labor and environmental standards, we are witnessing the emergence of international institutions and sources of authority that touch many aspects of business operations. These structures of global governance – rules, norms, codes of conduct, and standards – constrain, facilitate, and shape business behavior and the markets in which businesses operate.1 Simultaneously, larger companies and industry associations are increasingly engaged in the development of the structures and processes of global environmental governance (GEG), in collaboration as well as conflict with governmental agencies, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Indeed, the increasing recognition that markets themselves are powerful mechanisms of GEG highlights the centrality of business, particularly larger multinational corporations (MNCs), within the complex fabric of environmental governance.2 Large firms, in their role as investors, innovators, information providers, manufacturers, purchasers, lobbyists, and employers, are critical players in developing the architecture of GEG. They coordinate extensive global value chains, shaping the geographic profile of production, trade, and their environmental impacts.3 They are frequently prominent in negotiating formal intergovernmental regimes, such as the Kyoto Protocol, and in technical and economic advisory panels to these regimes. They participate in quasi-private policy bodies such as the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, which are becoming increasingly influential in trade and investment policy.4 They shape public debate through funding research centers, commissioning reports from consultants and NGOs, and through public relations and advertising campaigns. They participate in networks with private and public partners to establish standards, codes of conduct, and to promote particular technologies such...
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