National Government Interventions in a Global Arena
Edited by Frank Wijen, Kees Zoeteman, Jan Pieters and Paul van Seters
Chapter 8: Standards and the Internationalisation of Environmental Practices and Policies
Jan Pieters1 SUMMARY Globalisation has led to a strong increase in offshoring. Firms increasingly operate in international networks of production and research and development, dispersed over many firms or production facilities around the world. The technologies deployed in these networks are compatible owing to common standards. These networks are directly influenced by public opinion as well as through government measures, with the latter being shaped by public concern. With production and consumption levels rising in numerous developed and emerging markets, the associated threats to the environment and human health are also becoming more common among nations. As a result, comparable environmental policy objectives get increasingly shared among nations. Therefore, environmental performance standards tend to move into the same directions, with stringent standards spreading to more lenient countries. At the same time, governments face the challenge to improve the efficiency of administering environmental policies. Strategies to do so often rely on the deployment of various kinds of standards. As a result of the above-mentioned developments, actions of firms to prevent and control pollution, as well as actions of governments, become ever more international, in both their scope and their environmental effects. The second corollary is that the efficiency of national policies is greatly improved if they are formulated in terms of technical performance standards, which facilitate the international diffusion of best practices by enhancing the compatibility of products and production processes, reducing costs, and improving the functioning of markets. 1 I am indebted to Frank Wijen for valuable suggestions and comments...
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