Panel: Structuring Environmental Policies and Programs to Improve Sustainability Outcomes
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Friday, November 8, 2019: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Plaza Building: Lobby Level, Director's Row I (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Nicole Darnall, Arizona State University
Panel Chair:  Serena Kim, University of Colorado, Denver
Discussant:  Aaron Deslatte, Indiana University

For decades, local governments and other public institutions have increasingly developed policies and programs that are designed to reduce global climate change and improve public health. However, adoption has been slow, in part because of a lack of evidence that links how these how can these policies and programs can be structured and supported to improve sustainability outcomes. This panel addresses this concern in four papers that assess the environmental policies and programs in local governments and other public institutions. It identifies: (1) which factors are associated with the implementation success of sustainability policies;(2) why some stakeholders are likely to support some environmental sustainability policies over others; (3) whichsustainability programs are more likely to lead to meaningful improvements in environmental sustainability and community health; (4) how novel approaches (e.g., demonstration projects) can seed the uptake and diffusion of technologies that reduce climate change impacts.Each paper advances theory about these topics using robust empirical approaches.

The first paper addresses the factors are associated with local governments’ perceived success of their sustainable procurement policies (SPPs). It draws on data from anational-level survey of US cities and shows that SPP implementation success is related with both organizational capacity and support from key stakeholders. Moreover SPP implementation success is a function of the degree that the local government integrates SPP systems throughout the organization.

The second paper assesseshow different types of stakeholders (internal and external) are associated with six environmental sustainability policies. It uses nationwide survey data of directors in the US local governments and offers evidence that stakeholder pressures from environmental NGOs are associated local governments’ adoption ofall typesof sustainability policies, internal stakeholders are associated with local governments’ adoption of broader sustainability policies, and vendors and business associations are negatively associated with local governments’ adoption of any type of environmental sustainability policy.

The third paper assesses the link between local governments’ sustainability programs and improvements in environmental sustainability and community health. It combines data from a nationally representative longitudinal survey of the Health and Retirement Study with a national survey of local governments’ sustainability activities. The authors’ show that sustainability programs that are more likely to improve public health and well-being are those relate to community-wide programs and specifically those that focus on land use and transportation.

A novel policy approach is explored in the final paper. The authors explore how demonstration projects in large public institutions can be important policy tools that accelerate the diffusion of environmental technologies. The authors observe, in real time, the formation of a network around a demonstration project and how attitudes and behaviors relating to environmental technologies disseminate through the building design and construction network to mitigate climate change impacts.

Where’s Environment and Society? Addressing Critical Voids in Public Procurement Research
Fatima Hafsa, Nicole Darnall, Stuart Bretschneider and Justin M. Stritch, Arizona State University

How Demonstration Projects Catalyze Change and Facilitate Market Transformation in the Built Environment
Dan Matisoff, Fikret Atalay and Baabak Ashuri, Georgia Institute of Technology