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Why Business Should Engage on Environmental Policy Issues

Business should engage on environmental policy issues for a win-win situation

Proactive engagement in the environmental policy process may not top the list of priorities for most managers. Yet a grasp of environmental policy and its development can benefit corporate decision-makers. For example, voluntary agreements such as the Canadian Voluntary Challenge and Registry have tangible impacts on business’ bottom line – from market rewards, to social license to the threat of future government regulation. A recent report commissioned by NBS and authored by researchers at Carleton University provides an entry point to understanding the impact of environmental policy on your company. Some reasons you should give it a read:

  • It explains which policies work when and why: For instance, policy that uses money as a stick, a carrot or a combination of both seems to work better than regulations that prohibit or require certain behaviours.

  • It’s based on rigorous research: The report is an extension of NBS’s systematic review of the body of literature on building effective environmental policy. Researchers at Carleton University conducted the research by synthesizing data from 204 studies in order to present a comprehensive complication of high-quality knowledge on the topic.

  • It offers tools to help create better policy: Tailored to busy decision-makers in business and government, the executive report provides three actionable tools to aid in the development of effective policy. The first tool reviews the range of factors that influence the policy process and highlights some considerations before beginning to advocate for, or create, new policy. The second provides a decision-tree that includes questions decision-makers should ask at various stages of the policy process to ensure that they identify the best policy instrument. Finally, the third describes key policy instruments, detailing when each works best and providing real-world examples of where each was used.

  • It pinpoints ways business can contribute to the policy-making process: The report provides strategies for constructive engagement in the policy dialogue, which can ultimately result in more effective and efficient programs.

  • Binding environmental policy directly affects your bottom line: Environmental regulation has sweeping implications for businesses. Understanding environmental policies helps business leaders seize the opportunity of moving first on binding regulation. Furthermore, voluntarily acting on environmental policies can generate goodwill with stakeholders, which can translate into consumer loyalty, easier financing, and the ability to attract talent.

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