Eco-Labels, Neo-Liberalism and Private Environmental Governance - guest lecture

CEVIA - Centre for Enterprise Liability invites you to attend the guest lecture of Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law Jason J. Czarnezki. He is an Associate Dean & Executive Director of Environmental Law Programs at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University (New York, USA), Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Law, Uppsala University (Sweden), and Honorary Research Associate, University of Oxford, Environmental Change Institute (UK.)

Abstract of the lecture:

Jason J. CzarnezkiEnvironmental regulation and sustainability programs have taken a neoliberal turn, perhaps even becoming the dominant form of environmental governance. Neoliberal environmental regulation includes the use of information dissemination and regulation such as labeling and advertising to influence consumer preferences, as well as the promotion of private environmental governance. This neoliberal turn in environmental regulation has received much criticism—that progressives have sold out to conservative free-market principles (as opposed to relying on government mandated public health and welfare standards), or that consumers are overwhelmed by the “green choices” provided by consumer brands, or that businesses simply use environmental preferences by consumers to engage in “greenwashing.” This neoliberal turn also has its share of supporters—arguing that the approach creates incentives for technological innovation, improves efficiency, and lowers transaction costs by eschewing government mandates in favor of markets and replacing regulatory prohibitions with private property rights. Eco-labeling—as a type of neoliberal regulation, mechanism of private environmental governance and form of informational regulation—has proliferated in recent years as an alternative to traditional command and control regulation. Over 600 eco-labels worldwide offer some definition of “environmentally friendly.”

This lecture explores three questions. First, should we be comfortable with a neoliberal or private environmental governance approach rather than a traditional public environmental law approach dictating how goods are produced? And, if so, what checks are required through regulation and legislation to improve the quality of informational neoliberal approaches? Second, to what extent can eco-labels can contribute to sustainability efforts, and how can industry maximize their effectiveness? Deploying research from evolutionary psychology, behavioral law and economics, and norm theory, what specific insights can be offered for the design and implementation of eco-labels to enhance their influence on sustainable consumer choice? Third, as the credibility and veracity of an environmental claim depends on a high degree of transparency, clarity and trust, what liability exists for businesses engaged in eco-labeling? What types of eco-labels should businesses utilize to market the environmental performance of their products, minimize the potential for greenwashing, and provide a level of verification and independence?

Time: Tuesday, 28 August 2018, 12:00-13:00

Place: Meeting room 6B-3-04, Building 6B, 3rd floor, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S

All are welcome, but registration is required. Please register using this registration form no later than Friday 24 August 2018, 15:00.

All questions concerning registration should be addressed to Marta Andhov e-mail: