Consumption, innovation and the environment

OECD Conference on Public Environmental Policy and the Private Firm (14-15 June 2005, Washington DC)


The OECD project on ‘environmental policy design and firm-level management’ is exploring a number of issues at the interface between public and private environmental policy. Under the co-ordination of the Empirical Policy Analysis Unit of the OECD Environment Directorate, research teams collected data from approximately 4,200 firms from seven countries (Japan, Hungary, France, Germany, Norway, Canada and the United States) on issues such as environmental management and performance, as well as the public environmental policy context.  The specific questions addressed in the project can be summarised as follows:

  • How does the design of environmental policy frameworks affect management and decision-making within the firm?
  • Does the application of different types of environmental policy instruments have different implications for firms' organisational and managerial responses?
  • Do environmental management systems and tools significantly improve the environmental performance of the firm?What types of public policy (and other factors) encourage the adoption of more innovative environmental practices?
  • Does improved environmental performance generate commercial benefits (and what types of commercial benefits)?

The research teams involved in the project have undertaken formal empirical analysis of the data, examining the thematic areas set out above. Particular attention is being paid to the determinants - including, in particular, public policy determinants - of environmental management, performance and innovation, and the links between these variables.


In order to add value to this work, and to bring in the experience from other OECD member countries a conference was held on 14-15 June 2005 in Washington DC. Agenda and presentations available. The conference built upon insights gained from the survey, as well as addressed other related issues drawing upon both the economics and management literature. In addition, the conference provided an opportunity for representatives of business, policymakers and academics to discuss these issues in a constructive manner, based upon reviews of the available evidence. 

For more information on the project and the conference, please contact Nick Johnstone (


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