Beyond command and control : do voluntary initiatives hold promise for enhanced environmental protection?


University of British Columbia

Date Issued


Document Type



Master of Laws - LLM




This thesis studies current trends in environmental regulation that represent a shift away from "command and control" and "end of pipe" regulation to voluntary, cooperative approaches that are focused on pollution prevention. The focus is on the regulation of big industry and in particular mining and metals production. Although experiences in other jurisdictions are considered, the primary focus of this thesis is on British Columbia and Canada. Chapter One sets out the methodology employed in preparing the thesis. Chapter Two examines problems associated with traditional approaches to command and control and end of pipe regulation. Shortcomings in existing regulation are identified. Chapter Three identifies many of the expectations and goals of stakeholders with an interest in environmental protection and sustainable development. Reference is made to the interests of government, environmental non-governmental organizations, and, in particular, the private sector/business community. Chapter Four considers four current initiatives which are representative of a trend toward cooperative, voluntary approaches. Chapter Five addresses two questions: (1) what factors and considerations inherent in the reviewed initiatives increase their chances for success? and; (2) what conditions and parameters need to be present to satisfy society's expectations and optimize environmental protection? In addressing these questions, the author sets out several factors that may be important in achieving successful outcomes from voluntary initiatives. Chapter Six concludes that, if the factors outlined in the thesis are employed, society will move closer to achieving an operable state of interdependence, which is essential if optimal environmental protection is to be realized. However, such a result will depend upon the degree of commitment of stakeholders, and in particular, the private sector.

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