Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy
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Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy

Edited by David M. Konisky

A comprehensive analysis of diverse areas of scholarly research on U.S. environmental policy and politics, this Handbook looks at the key ideas, theoretical frameworks, empirical findings and methodological approaches to the topic. Leading environmental policy scholars emphasize areas of emerging research and opportunities for future enquiry.
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Chapter 32: Letting the fox guard the hen house? Corporate social responsibility and environmental governance

Daniel C. Matisoff


This chapter seeks to explain the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) from an environmental policy perspective. The chapter details three perspectives on why firms might pursue beyond compliance or CSR behavior. These include a strategic model, a stakeholder model, and a market barrier model of CSR. Following these models, there are several conditions and pathways for successful CSR. These include a strong regulatory threat, the ability to market to and signal stakeholders, and the ability to find low-cost opportunities for environmental improvement. Barriers to achieving these include competitive disadvantages in competitive markets, a lack of prices on environmental externalities, and the potential for greenwashing. The chapter synthesizes innovative opportunities for CSR, detailing new trends in certified B Corporations, sustainability reporting, social enterprises, and cooperative ownership. The chapter concludes with directions for future academic research.

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