Monday, September 19, 2011

Greening production through information

People in general prefer green products, although they are not always ready to pay a significant markup for a greener product. If they know that a product has been manufactured using green procedures, there will attach more value to it if the claim is credible. Several green labels, supposed to certify such claims, have emerged, but none have much recognition, in fact one sometimes wonders whether some of them are really weak.

Another approach is voluntary disclose of pollution emissions and other environmental disclosures by the industry. This is reviewed by, take a deep breath, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Qwanruedee Chotichanathawewong and Thirumalainambi Murugesh with a focus on Asia. They highlight that the final consumer is not necessarily the one targeted by this information. For example, some investment funds, in particular sovereign wealth funds, are under pressure to invest in ethical firms. Or potential employees may avoid polluters, and local planning may benefit form the available information, thus encouraging local investment.

The authors argue that there is little environmental regulation in most of Asian, with makes the price of environmental benefits close to zero. If you want firms to start abating, you need regulation, and then they also be willing to should how well they abate, leading to more abatement. In some larger Asian countries, a few modest disclosure programs have started, and they have shown excellent prospect in increasing environmental compliance.

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