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Environmental Law Institute Offers New Paradigm for Environmental Protection

June 2018

(Washington, D.C.): Environmental quality over the past 50 years has no doubt improved, but the pace of change is leaving in the dust the linear environmental strategies of the past. But how should the environmental protection enterprise be organized in the future, and who will shape this new paradigm? In A New Environmentalism: The Need for a Total Strategy for Environmental Protection, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) offers a new way to think about the environmental strategies of tomorrow.

environmental paradigm“What constituted a strategy 15, or even 10 years ago—analyze, plan, execute—no longer works in operating environments that are increasingly unpredictable, fragmented, and characterized by high rates of technological change, big data, crowd communication, young industries, and an incessant drive for competitive advantage,” observes ELI President Scott Fulton, co-author of the report. “Too often, we try to execute on variations of old business models, when we need to step back, identify, and embrace new ones. This will require transformational leadership, which is in short supply.”

The number of strategies that can be brought to bear on existing and emerging environmental challenges are far greater than any time in our history. “While this certainly creates new challenges, it also points to an emerging ecosystem of drivers—law, business reputation, technology, and communities—that promise to shape environmental behavior and performance in ways that can improve environmental quality around the planet,” adds co-author Dave Rejeski, Director of ELI’s Technology, Innovation, and the Environmental Program.

For example, how do we make more use of citizen-generated data? How can the voluntary commitments by companies be further internalized into algorithms that drive energy and environmental decisions in facilities and supply chains? How can law-based systems anticipate and prevent software tampering and manipulation? And, on the flip side, how do we embed environmental norms into software design going forward?

ELI has launched a new program that delves into these issues and welcomes input from all interested stakeholders. Please send your ideas to newparadigm@eli.org.

A New Environmentalism: The Need for a Total Strategy for Environmental Protection, can be downloaded for free at https://www.eli.org/technology-innovation-and-environment-program.