Private sector, climate change, sustainability


The topic of this symposium, “Environmental Sustainability and Private Governance,” is important and timely. In response to the shrinking federal role in environmental protection, many policy advocates have focused on the role of states and cities, but this symposium focuses on another important source of sustainability initiatives: the private sector, including corporations, households, civic and cultural organizations, religious organizations, private hospitals, colleges and universities, and other organizations. States, cities, and other subnational government responses are increasingly important, but the limited geographic reach of subnational governments constrains their ability to address many environmental problems. For instance, although twenty states have set quantified greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets and are adopting policies to reduce emissions, almost two-thirds of United States GHG emissions arise from the thirty states that do not have GHG targets. Private governance initiatives offer an opportunity to fill the gap.