Cover of Shades of Green by Neil Gunningham, Robert A. Kagan, and Dorothy Thornton
Shades of Green
Business, Regulation, and Environment
Neil Gunningham, Robert A. Kagan, and Dorothy Thornton


224 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804748063
Paperback ISBN: 9780804748520



How much does regulation matter in shaping corporate behavior? This pathbreaking, in-depth study of fourteen pulp manufacturing mills in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand reveals that steadily tightening regulatory standards have been crucial for raising environmental performance. But while all firms have shown improvement, some have improved more than others, many going substantially beyond compliance.

What explains the variation in compliance? It's not necessarily the differences in regulation in each country. Rather, variation is accounted for by the complex interaction between tightening regulations and a social license to operate (especially pressures from community and environmental activists), economic constraints, and differences in corporate environmental management style. Shades of Green provides the most extensive and systematic empirical study to date of why firms achieve the levels of environmental performance that they do.

About the authors

Neil A. Gunningham is Professor in the School of Resources, Environment, and Society at the Australian National University. Robert A. Kagan is Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Society and Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Dorothy Thornton is Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley.

"This innovative and sophisticated study represents a major contribution to the study of corporate environmental performance . The authors persuasively demonstrate how the 'greening of industry' is affected by a complex interaction of regulatory requirements, community pressures, economic constraints and managerial styles. This creative effort to integrate the study of environmental regulation and corporate environmentalism significantly enriches our understanding of the dynamics of both government regulation and environmental management."

—David Vogel, Professor, Department of Political Science, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

"Shades of Green is a valuable, finely written investigation of determinants of the varying degree to which corporations comply—or even over-comply—with environmental regulations."

—Francine Sanders Romero, Department of Public Administration, University of Texas at San Antonio