Institutionalizing sustainability across the federal government

Kenneth Abbott, Gary Marchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A notable aspect of sustainability is its holistic and cross-cutting nature-it cannot be achieved by any single rule, statute or agency. Instead, sustainability must be institutionalized across the legal system and government as a whole. In this paper, we propose and examine five mechanisms for institutionalizing sustainability across the federal legal system: (1) an Executive Order on sustainability; (2) a sustainability impact assessment process; (3) a non-partisan Congressional Joint Committee on Sustainability; (4) a federal Sustainability Commission; and (5) a Sustainability Law Reform Commission. Each is modeled on an existing institution in the United States or another jurisdiction. We discuss and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each mechanism, and discuss how the mechanisms might best be used, singly or in combination, to institutionalize sustainability across the federal government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1924-1942
Number of pages19
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010


  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Executive order
  • Governance
  • Government commissions
  • Institutional analysis
  • Law reform
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Institutionalizing sustainability across the federal government'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this