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Des billets verts pour des entreprises agricoles vertes?

Listed author(s):
  • Paul Lanoie
  • Daniel Llerena
Registered author(s):

    The conventional wisdom about environmental protection is that it comes at an additional cost on farmers imposed by the government, which may erode their global competitiveness. However, during the last decade, this paradigm has been challenged by a number of analysts. In particular, Porter (Porter, 1991; Porter and van der Linde, 1995) argues that pollution is often associated with a waste of resources (material, energy, etc.), and that more stringent environmental policies can stimulate innovations that may compensate for the costs of complying with these policies. In fact, there are many ways through which improving the environmental performance of a farm can lead to a better economic or financial performance, and not necessarily to an increase in cost. To be systematic, it is important to look at both sides of the balance sheet. Following the framework developed by Reinhardt (2000), Lankoski (2000, 2006), and Lanoie and Ambec (2007), we can argue, first, that a better environmental performance can lead to an increase in revenues through the following channels: i) a better access to certain markets; ii) the possibility to differentiate products and iii) the possibility to sell pollution-control technology. Second, a better environmental performance can lead to cost reductions in the following categories: iv) regulatory cost; v) cost of material, energy and services; vi) cost of capital, and vii) cost of labour. In this article, we want to evaluate how this framework is relevant for the agricultural sector. In other words, for each of the seven channels identified above [i) to vii)], we want to see how it can be applied to the agricultural sector, while presenting concrete illustrations under the form of short case studies. Although other authors have discussed the profitability of different new agro-environmental practices; to our knowledge, nobody has done it in such a systematic way as that presented here. Moreover, the concrete examples from France and Quebec that we present may inspire farmers who are still debating as to, whether or not, they should green their activities. We conclude that there are many opportunities to improve at the same time the environmental and the financial performance in the agricultural sector, but maybe less than in other sectors. Il est de coutume d'associer à la protection de l'environnement l'idée que l'intervention des pouvoirs publics représente uniquement des coûts supplémentaires pour les agriculteurs. Cependant, depuis quelques années, ce paradigme est remis en cause par de nombreuses études. Par exemple, Porter et van der Linde (Porter, 1991; Porter and van der Linde, 1995) considèrent que la pollution est souvent associée à une sous utilisation des ressources (matière première, énergie, etc.) et que l'existence de politiques environnementales plus strictes peut stimuler l'innovation et, par là même, aboutir à une compensation des coûts supportés par les entreprises régulées. En réalité, il existe de multiples canaux par lesquels une amélioration de la performance environnementale des exploitations agricoles peut aboutir à de meilleures performances économiques, ou en tout cas pas nécessairement à un accroissement des coûts d'exploitation. Pour être systématique, il faut examiner les impacts de la performance environnementale non seulement en termes de revenus additionnels, mais également en termes de réduction des coûts. En suivant le cadre d'analyse proposé par Reinhardt (2000), Lankoski (2000, 2006) et Lanoie et Ambec (2007), nous pouvons tout d'abord constater qu'une amélioration des performances environnementales peut induire un accroissement des recettes via trois canaux : i) l'accès à de nouveaux marchés ; ii) la possibilité de différencier les produits et iii) la possibilité de vendre des technologies environnementales. Par ailleurs, une meilleure performance environnementale peut également se traduire par une réduction des coûts dans les catégories suivantes : iv) coûts réglementaires; v) coûts des matières premières, des intrants et de l'énergie; vi) coût du capital et vii) coût du travail. L'objectif de cet article est d'appliquer ce cadre d'analyse au secteur agricole. Plus précisément, à l'aide d'illustration et d'études de cas, nous analysons pour chacun des sept points présentés ci-dessus les relations qui peuvent exister entre la performance environnementale des exploitations agricoles et leur performance économique. Si certains auteurs ont déjà étudié la rentabilité de différentes mesures ou techniques agro-environnementales, il n'existe pas à notre connaissance d'études systématiques. De plus, les exemples concrets d'expériences menées en France et au Québec montrent que la question de l'impact des pratiques environnementales sur la rentabilité des entreprises reste d'actualité, et que les approches proposées peuvent être une source d'inspiration pour les agriculteurs en réflexion quant à leur décision d'investir ou non en matière de protection de l'environnement.

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    Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2007s-17.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
    Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2007s-17
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    1. Stefan Ambec & Paul Lanoie, 2007. "When and Why Does It Pay To Be Green?," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-20, CIRANO.
    2. Barla, Philippe, 2007. "ISO 14001 certification and environmental performance in Quebec's pulp and paper industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 291-306, May.
    3. Wall, Ellen & Weersink, Alfons & Swanton, Clarence, 2001. "Agriculture and ISO 14000," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 35-48, February.
    4. Donald Marron, 2004. "Greener Public Purchasing as an Environmental Policy Instrument," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 3(4), pages 71-105.
    5. Nick Johnstone & Julien Labonne, 2007. "Environmental policy, management and R&D," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2006(1), pages 169-203.
    6. Isabelle Piot-Lepetit & Bernhard Brümmer & Werner Kleinhanss, 2002. "Régulation environnementale et efficacité des exploitations en Allemagne et en France," Économie rurale, Programme National Persée, vol. 268(1), pages 119-129.
    7. Robert D. Klassen & Curtis P. McLaughlin, 1996. "The Impact of Environmental Management on Firm Performance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(8), pages 1199-1214, August.
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