November 30, 2012
Scrutinizing and Supporting Green Business
What do policymakers and practitioners need to know about encouraging and supporting green business? First, they need to know whether green business really exists. When companies say that they are "going green," do their environmental performance and competitiveness really improve? Or are they more interested in "green washing" their corporate reputation? Second, assuming green business is real, how can policy makers best promote it? Should they leave it to the market to encourage corporate greening or take an active role in its development? Which policies could policymakers employ to achieve this and what do such policies mean for practitioners?
This seminar addressed whether green business is green and, if so, how policymakers should encourage it. Speakers reviewed the empirical literature on voluntary green business practices, assessing whether corporate initiatives truly benefit the environment or whether they are more properly characterized as green washing. The discussion identified ways that law and policy can promote green business, assess the regulatory strategies proposed thus far—as well as some that have not yet been considered—and examined which will best encourage companies to go green in a meaningful, verifiable way. The seminar provide cutting-edge thinking on the relationships among green business, law, and policy and will offer ideas for how policymakers can best move forward in this important area.
LeRoy C. (Lee) Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Studies; Professorial Lecturer in Law, George Washington University (moderator)
Alex Beehler, Senior Advisor, FaegreBD Consulting
Dennis Hirsch, Professor of Law, Capital University Law School
Jennifer Nash, Executive Director, Regulatory Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School
Kurt Strasser, Professor, University of Connecticut Law School
Dennis Hirsch powerpoint, How Land and Policy can Promote Green Business: The Role of Reflexive Law
Jennifer Nash powerpoint, Shields or Levers? A Review of Two Greening Strategies
LeRoy Paddock article, Beyond Deterrence: Compliance and Enforcement in the Context of Sustainable Development
Kurt Strasser powerpoint, Myths and Realities of Business Enviromentalism
Suggested Further Readings from Panelists