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Environmental regulation, sustainability and risk

J. Campbell Gemmell (Environmental Protection Agency, Adelaide, Australia)
E. Marian Scott (School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 2 August 2013

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an overview of environmental regulation and recent trends and developments in this area, rooted in the practical regulatory implementation activities of EPAs worldwide and drawing connection to sustainability, environmental risks, economics and environmental justice.

Design/methodology/approach

The design and methodology in developing “Better (Environmental) Regulation” is addressed drawn on experiences from different regulatory systems. It addresses the linkages between environment, economy, regulation and sustainability and adopts and develops Sparrow's approach to a focus on tackling harms.

Findings

A range of challenges in policy and practice terms – e.g. economic growth versus sustainability – is described. Arguments against the political economy convention of reducing burdens are made and a spectrum of compliance for regulators is offered, leading to a proposed agenda to help deliver better regulation generally.

Research limitations/implications

A major challenge in arguing for an anti‐burden approach is the lack of a general ecosystem services approach and the dearth of valuation data to validate industry claims, demonstrate the costs of compliance and non‐environment and the value of protection.

Practical implications

The argument is presented that environmental regulation is of fundamental value not only to the environment per se but to tackling climate change and protecting society at large.

Originality/value

Hitherto there has been very little in the literature from a practitioner perspective, analysing and proposing improvements to environmental regulation in practice while preserving and securing environmental and sustainability policy objectives. This paper should support and encourage policy makers and implementers in improving practice.

Keywords

Citation

Campbell Gemmell, J. and Marian Scott, E. (2013), "Environmental regulation, sustainability and risk", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 120-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-Jan-2012-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited