Collaborative Voluntary Programs: Lessons from Environmental Law

Kathleen Waugh, Gary E. Marchant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Voluntary and collaborative programs are potentially useful in addressing the pacing problem by expediting oversight mechanisms for new problems as well as minimizing outdated regulations. Because they can usually be negotiated or implemented more quickly than traditional regulations, as well as modified more easily in response to changing technologies and circumstances, voluntary agreements provide a degree of flexibility and adaptiveness that may be useful for managing rapidly emerging technologies. Yet, such voluntary programs also raise concerns, such as the lack of enforceability, and the limitations for participation of non-governmental organizations in some such programs. The environmental field offers a rich empirical set of examples in which the pros and cons of voluntary programs can be evaluated. Voluntary programs have had a mixed record of success in this field, but the lessons learned suggest that voluntary programs can provide a useful contribution to oversight when they are carefully designed to provide clarity, flexibility and appropriate incentives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameInternational Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
ISSN (Print)1875-0044
ISSN (Electronic)1875-0036


  • Collaborative programs
  • Industry self-regulation
  • Voluntary performance standards
  • Voluntary programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Public Administration
  • Safety Research


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