Panel: Environmental Sustainability in State and Local Governments
(Natural Resource Security, Energy and Environmental Policy)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
New Orleans (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Lily Hsueh, Arizona State University
Panel Chairs:  Richard Feiock, Florida State University
Discussants:  Hyunjung Ji, University of Alabama

Sustainable Public Procurement Implementation in U.S. Local Governments
Nicole Darnall, Stuart Bretschneider, Lily Hsueh, Justin M. Stritch and Melissa Duscha, Arizona State University

State and local governments have increasingly engaged in proactive environmental sustainable policies and programs. Subnational governments have the potential to not only influence but lead the private sector and society-at-large toward practices that are more environmentally sustainable, and in doing so, shape the movement toward a low carbon economy. This panel brings together four papers that discuss these topics. One paper examines the determinants of sustainable procurement policy adoption across states while the other focuses on patterns associated with city-level sustainable procurement implementation. A third paper explores how communications between state and local transportation agencies and private environmental consultants affect successful completion of the environmental review process. The final paper argues that data-driven urban climate change policy carries political implications that should be accounted for in policy and program design.

The first paper examines patterns and determinants of sustainable procurement policy (SPP) adoption and implementation across states, which has received little attention in the public policy and public administration literatures. Drawing on large-N survey data from the National Association of State Procurement Officers (NASPO) and qualitative interviews and open-ended survey questions, the author examines how different forms of procurement professionalization  (i.e., policy training) and organization attention (i.e., proportional budgetary allocation and centralization) influence state adoption of SPP and the type of SPP adopted.

A complement to the first paper, the second paper examines SPP implementation at the local level. This research examines the organizational barriers and facilitators to SPP implementation, drawing on an original national-level survey of department directors of finance, environment and public works departments in all U.S. cities with at least 50,000 residents. The paper’s findings emphasize how organizational capacity, leadership, technology, and centralization are associated with stronger degrees of SPP implementation. Additionally, the authors find that cities’ relationships with vendors, commitment to innovation, and rules and procedures are related SPP implementation.

In the third paper, the authors develop a transactional process model to explore how communications between state and local transportation agencies and private environmental consultants affect successful completion of the environmental review process. Findings based on a mixed methods research design suggest that high quality projects are associated with communication processes whereby consultants take the lead in managing integrative communication practices. Moreover, the strength of the influence of communications on outcomes varies with the perceptions of agency versus consultancy roles.

The role of politics vis-à-vis policy actors is explored in the final paper. In this research, the attention is turned to an investigation of how in the process of mobilizing participants and resources for data-driven urban climate change governance, cities become sites of political contestation. The authors argue that this is because data is a resource central to the task of governing GHG emissions, and therefore information mobilization is necessary to reduce GHG emissions; as such, holders of information are powerful and empowered actors in urban climate change governance. Drawing on interviews and city case studies, the authors argue that transparency of data and data management processes are also central to urban climate change governance.