Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Activity / 2013 / Voluntary Environmentalists? Are Green Clubs a Win for Businesses and the Environment?

Environmental Studies

Voluntary Environmentalists? Are Green Clubs a Win for Businesses and the Environment?

Story posted October 22, 2013

Event date(s): November 06, 2013 — November 06, 2015

Many companies around the world are participating in voluntary programs that require them to do good things for the environment, even beyond the requirements of government regulations. Some environmentalists worry that these programs are yet more corporate propaganda attempting to greenwash companies’ poor environmental records.  Supporters see in these programs great potential to improve environmental conditions in an era when gridlock prevents government led solutions.  In this talk I will propose an analytic lens that focuses on what problems these programs can solve and what types of rules they need to be effective.  Voluntary programs can induce companies to reduce their pollution emissions if they offer a mechanism that credibly signals their superior environmental behavior.  

Matthew Potoski is a Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He teaches courses on corporate environmental management, and his research focuses on management, voluntary environmental programs, and public policy. He co-authored The Voluntary Environmentalists (Cambridge, 2006) and was co-editor of Voluntary Programs (MIT, 2009). He is currently co-editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management and the International Public Management Journal.

Sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the McKeen Center for the Common Good, the Bowdoin Globalist, and the Government & Legal Studies Department with support from the John C. Donovan Lecture Fund.

Matthew Potoski