Environmental Governance in Europe
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Environmental Governance in Europe

A Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instruments

Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel, Anthony R. Zito and Andrew J. Jordan

European governance has witnessed dramatic changes in recent decades. By assessing the use of ‘new’ environmental policy instruments in European Union countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, this timely book analyses whether traditional forms of top-down government have given way to less hierarchical governance instruments, which rely strongly on societal self-steering and/or market forces. The authors provide important new theoretical insights as well as fresh empirical detail on why, and in what form, these instruments are being adopted within and across different levels of governance, along with analysis of the often-overlooked interactions between the instrument types.
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Chapter 4: Governing by informational means

A Comparative Analysis of New Environmental Policy Instruments

Rüdiger K.W. Wurzel, Anthony R. Zito and Andrew J. Jordan


This chapter assesses informational policy instruments by focusing on eco-label schemes and environmental management schemes (EMSs). While eco-labels and EMSs constitute different schemes, they are both relatively soft informational tools which allow participants to review and publicise their environmental performance (for example, Gunningham, Grabosky and Sinclair, 1998; Heinelt et al., 2001; Jordan, Wurzel and Zito, 2005, 2007; Taschner, 1998; see also Chapter 2). Both eco-label schemes and EMSs are voluntary policy instruments schemes that encourage a self-regulatory process in which the participants adhere to environmental performance criteria (in the case of eco-label schemes) or environmental audits (in the case of EMSs). Informational policy instruments are often also labelled ‘moral suasion instruments’ because they provide citizens and consumers with standardised information about the environmental impact of certain products, production processes and/or services (for example, Jordan et al., 2004; Wicke, 1987). Companies which operate in markets with a high level of public environmental awareness and ‘green consumerism’ usually have strong incentives to join eco-label schemes and/or EMSs in particular if their competitors have already done so (for example, Jordan et al., 2004: 163; Micheletti, Follesdal and Stolle, 2004). Out of the policy instruments assessed in this book, informational policy instruments match most closely the ideal-typical notion of horizontal self-coordination (see Chapter 1). If there has indeed been a shift from traditional tools of government (namely, top-down command-and- control regulation) towards new modes of governance (in other words, soft policy instruments which encourage horizontal self-coordination), then we should expect to see an increase in the uptake

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