Stakeholder involvement in the design of U.S. voluntary environmental programs: does sponsorship matter?
Voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) promise to provide firms and facilities additional flexibility in managing their environmental affairs while increasing internal efficiencies and improving their public image. Although stakeholder input is thought to improve program development, little is known about the extent that stakeholders are involved in the VEP design process. Based on a survey of 61 program managers, this research distinguishes between the intensity and diversity of stakeholder involvement and uses these two concepts to assess VEP development relative to government, industry and third-party sponsorship. Even in the absence of a mandate, all three sponsors include a variety of stakeholders in program design. While there is evidence that collaborative relationships are developing between sponsors and a range of stakeholder groups, variations in the intensity of involvement among sponsors suggest that some stakeholders may have disproportionate levels of influence in the design of VEPs.