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Private Standards in the Climate Regime: The Greenhouse Gas Protocol


  • Green Jessica F

    (Case Western Reserve University)


This paper seeks to explain the success of two NGOs in creating standards for calculating and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the level of an entire company. These emissions accounting standards, called the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, have been widely adopted by multinational firms, emissions reporting registries, and even an emissions trading scheme. The paper traces the widespread adoption of the standards, and then offers an explanation for this successful instance of private regulation. It presents a supply and demand model of private entrepreneurial authoritywhere private actors project authority without delegation by states. The two NGOs were successful rule-makers because they were able meet a demand for three benefits to potential users of the standard: reduced transaction costs, first-mover advantage, and an opportunity to burnish their reputation as environmental leaders. The paper also explains the supply of private authoritythat is, why we see entrepreneurial authority rather than delegation by states. The disagreement among developed countries on the appropriate role for emissions trading in the climate regime delayed action on developing firm-level accounting methodologies. Moreover, the relative weakness of the focal institution in the climate regimethe climate change Secretariatmeant that there was no obvious international organization to take up the task of creating new measurement tools.

Suggested Citation

  • Green Jessica F, 2010. "Private Standards in the Climate Regime: The Greenhouse Gas Protocol," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-39, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:12:y:2010:i:3:n:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Victor, David G. & House, Joshua C., 2006. "BP's emissions trading system," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(15), pages 2100-2112, October.
    2. Karan Capoor & Philippe Ambrosi, "undated". "State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2009," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13403, The World Bank.
    3. Jon Skjærseth & Jørgen Wettestad, 2008. "Implementing EU emissions trading: success or failure?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 275-290, September.
    4. repec:wbk:wboper:13402 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Büthe Tim, 2010. "Engineering Uncontestedness? The Origins and Institutional Development of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-64, October.
    2. João Paulo Cândia Veiga & Fausto Makishi & Murilo Alves Zacareli & Thiago Augusto Hiromitsu Terada, 2016. "Corporate Leadership, Multilevel Enforcement and Biodiversity Regulation," Journal of Business, LAR Center Press, vol. 1(3), pages 43-53, July.
    3. Mayer Frederick & Gereffi Gary, 2010. "Regulation and Economic Globalization: Prospects and Limits of Private Governance," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-27, October.
    4. Pooja Pal & Himangana Gupta & Deepak Kapur, 2016. "Carbon mitigation potential of Indian steel industry," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 391-402, March.
    5. Thiemann Matthias, 2014. "The impact of meta-standardization upon standards convergence: the case of the international accounting standard for off-balance-sheet financing," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 79-112, April.
    6. repec:spr:climat:v:144:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-015-1481-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Auld Graeme & Cashore Benjamin & Balboa Cristina & Bozzi Laura & Renckens Stefan, 2010. "Can Technological Innovations Improve Private Regulation in the Global Economy?," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 1-42, October.

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