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Summary Report No. 70

Stakeholder Successes in Global Environmental Management. Report of Workshop. Potsdam, 8 December 2000
M. Welp (ed.) (April 2001)

The workshop ”Stakeholder Successes in Global Environmental Management” took place in Potsdam on 8 December 2000 and it was organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). A wide range of decision-makers from different sectors took part in the workshop, ranging from energy to forestry and from water to coastal management. They represented global firms, NGOs and government agencies mainly, but not exclusively, from Europe. The workshop was the kick-off for a stakeholder dialogue within the research project ”Europe in the Context of Global Change”. The project aims to foster the possible pioneering role of Europe in innovation and diffusion of policies and business strategies for global sustainability.

The workshop had two main objectives: (a) to identify stakeholders who have perspectives and knowledge needed to develop good solutions to global change problems and to create long lasting, stable relationships with them and (b) to learn about the participants’ perceptions of global change problems, future expectations and their views on global change research. For this purpose the workshop was organised around ‘success stories’, which provided a stimulus for discussion. Presentations were given by people from organisations that have a pioneering role, for example in emission trading, in linking paper consumption with forest management by forest certification and in creating sustainable investment mechanisms.

The presentations and discussions highlighted the new role of firms and NGOs in global environmental management. Corporate global environmental standards, international and national criteria for forest certificates, sustainability criteria for investments and emission trading mechanisms within global companies were all part of what was understood as global environmental management. The decisive role of NGOs in building coalitions and alliances, in promoting technology transfer and in acting as pressure groups was recognised. There was a common agreement that global environmental management is increasingly based on an interplay between business searching first-mover advantages, NGO lobbying and campaigning and consumers expecting increased satisfaction from products. National policy-making, the negotiation of international agreements and science are key elements in this interplay but remain rather ineffective if pursued in isolation. The importance of firms and NGOs seems to grow and pro-active policies need to respond to the new constellations by searching for new policy instruments, often based on judicious combination of an array of different measures.

The process of reflexive modelling, which is the core of the research project ”Europe in the Context of Global Change”, benefited from the kick-off workshop in various ways. First, many participants – from business, NGOs and German government – explicitly indicated their interest to work with PIK on issues of global change. Second, a number of lessons were learned that are highly valuable for modellers at PIK. These included, for example, the necessity of translating case studies into a modelling language and back, explicitly taking into consideration the role of the mass media and opinion formation and also the need of modelling economic processes along sectors and product chains.


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