Edited by P. M. Vasudev and Susan Watson
Chapter 11: Public Regulatory Encouragement to the Adoption of Private Ordering Systems to Achieve Environmental Protection through Sustainable Commerce
11. Public regulatory encouragement to the adoption of private ordering systems to achieve environmental protection through sustainable commerce Peter A. Appel and T. Rick Irvin INTRODUCTION Sustainable commerce provides an underappreciated source of environmental improvements. By sustainable commerce, we mean products and practices that minimize environmental impacts and optimize commercial value while realizing both public and private environmental benchmarks (Irvin et al. 2008, p. 562). The term includes means of improving the environment described under names such as sustainable development, greentech, cleantech, and the like. Current corporate governance structures allow for the adoption of programs to achieve sustainable commerce, but firms often underperform from an environmental standpoint. Sustainable commerce solutions employing private/public partnerships that encourage the application and enforcement of private ordering systems can result in faster and more economical environmental improvements than reliance on traditional command and control regulatory systems alone. Environmental challenges pose difficult problems for human communities at every level from the local to the global. Basic understanding of economic incentives in the context of group action and the unique risks presented from environmental exposure provide some insights into understanding why the conundrums that environmental threats create resist easy solutions. Environmental threats often operate at a subclinical level of impact in humans, so that exposure to a toxic chemical may not cause a recognizable reaction or present a diagnosable condition until years after the exposure. Even then, scientists may not fully understand the mechanism of how the substance produces a particular effect (e.g. cancer) so that the...
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