By Jane S. Shaw and Lynn Scarlett
A new paper challenges conventional wisdom about the role of business in environmental issues. Written primarily for business executives, it offers new ideas for addressing environmental challenges while keeping a principled commitment to market competition, consumer choice, and innovation.
"Environmental Progress: What Every Executive Should Know," by Lynn Scarlett of the Reason Foundation and Jane S. Shaw of PERC, makes such points as:
- The search for profits leads to conservation and reduction of pollution.
- Business is not the central cause of environmental problems.
- Environmental harm can be traced to two major problems: Open access to unowned resources and the inability of people to defend their common-law rights against harm from pollution.
- Rhetoric about "polluter pays," "the precautionary principle," and "market-based" environmentalism is often shallow.
- In many cases, decentralization and performance standards would improve regulation.
Reason Foundation, which also supported the paper, is a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that is committed to public policies that reflect the rule of law and personal responsibility.