Do voluntary approaches have a role to play in the response to climate change?
This chapter examines the potential for voluntary approaches to deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It reviews the literature on voluntary approaches and a wider assessment of the potential for voluntary approaches to make a significant contribution to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. The financial benefits of voluntary approaches potentially include improved compliance, better management of litigation risk, improved brand or reputation, better relationships with shareholders and society, and better morale and culture within the participating companies. While there have been few published economic evaluations of voluntary approaches, it appears that the primary benefits accrue to participants through their ability to forestall or influence regulations. Before discussing the role that voluntary approaches could pay in climate change policy, it is important to step back and examine the scale of the challenge that climate change presents. Voluntary approaches may also change the internal expectations of companies and/or empower other stakeholders to exert influence on companies.