Environmental Policy

In class it has often been said that people respond to incentives. Additionally, it has been stated that the market is the most appropriate place to give some. I do not want to object, but I want to remind that governmental intervention can also provoke changes. True, in policy it takes longer until an act passes, but on the contrary that gives time to elaborate something good. At least in theory.

In the case of Environmental Policy I would like to refer to an action plan that was conducted in the Netherlands. The Dutch National Strategies for Sustainable Development started in 1970 and the results were remarkable. The evolution of Dutch environmental policy consisted of 4 succeeding phases based on the following guiding principles:
– The polluter pays principle: polluters are liable for the cost of clean up and the prevention
– Stands still principle: polluted regions should not be more polluted, clean areas must stay clean
– Principle of isolation and control: pollution is to be controlled at the site and not be exported
– Principle of priority for pollution abatement at the source: end-of-pipe solutions
– The use of best-technology-means
– Principles of avoiding unnecessary pollution

To get an overview of “The evolution of Dutch Environmental Policy: the changing ecological arena from 1970 – 2000 and beyond” (Gerard Keijzers, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2000) and its results: Download file

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Posted in ecological tax reform, government policy
One comment on “Environmental Policy
  1. jeremy says:

    Good post Adrian. Governments do have a role to play, and that is to provide the right business environment for firms favouring a company strategy based on SD. Some might ‘interfere’ a little too much, and some not enough, but they do need to legislate to give companies the certainty they require to formulate long term plans. Significantly, they can harness the power of taxation system to create financial incentives for companies to change their behaviour.

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