Voluntary Approaches for Environmental Policy

An Assessment

Voluntary approaches are schemes whereby firms make commitments to improve their environmental performance.They cover arrangements such as public voluntary programmes, negotiated agreements or unilateral commitments. Until recently, voluntary approaches have not been subject to systematic analysis, inasmuch as, unlike taxes and tradable permits, they have not been prescribed by economic theory. Voluntary approaches were "invented" by those who devise and implement them: policy-makers, business associations, individual firms, non-governmental associations, etc.

The use of voluntary approaches in environmental policy (e.g.negotiated agreements between Government and industry) is spreading and attracting growing interest in OECD countries. This book provides a systematic analysis of the different types of voluntary approaches, their economic characteristics, their role and effectiveness.

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