Green Productivity, Sustainability, and the Law: Incorporating Green Productivity into the Policy Cycle and Legal Instrument Choice Frameworks to Address Legal Commitments to Sustainability

Description
Title: Green Productivity, Sustainability, and the Law: Incorporating Green Productivity into the Policy Cycle and Legal Instrument Choice Frameworks to Address Legal Commitments to Sustainability
Authors: Besco, Laurel Jean
Date: 2016
Abstract: Over the past number of decades, Canadian governments (both federal and provincial) have made commitments to preserving and protecting the natural environment and to using its components efficiently in order to benefit both current and future generations. These commitments, this thesis argues, translate into duties to strive for sustainable economic growth and intergenerational equity. One of the key challenges is to figure out which are the best policy tools and legal instruments that are capable of leading Canada towards these goals. Unfortunately, the economic measures typically employed by decision makers (GDP, GNP, productivity) tend to exclude or under represent natural capital, which may lead to decisions which actually degrade and deplete the natural environment and therefore violate the aforementioned legal commitments. One clear strategy to help Canada meet its commitments to sustainable economic growth and intergenerational equity is to ensure it uses its natural capital as efficiently as possible. This thesis proposes that green productivity is a useful tool for improving decision making because it considers the efficiency of use of natural capital a criteria important to helping achieve both sustainable economic growth and intergenerational equity. Green productivity is presented in this thesis as an umbrella term for productivity measures which include or account for, in some way, the (mis)use of natural capital. Specifically, the dissertation discuses three measures of green productivity used within economics: natural resource productivity, environmentally adjusted productivity, and natural capital and the residual. In addition to exploring the differences between these three measures of green productivity, the dissertation shows that they can be used to improve decision making in a number of ways, including as a broader public policy agenda item used by the government to target sustainability objectives. Additionally, measures of green productivity can be used to identify more specific policy and legal instrument goals, in designing and evaluating legal instruments, and in stakeholder consultation. For example, natural resource productivity can help identify leaders and laggards, thereby allowing decision makers to target certain industries or areas which are lagging. It can also help decision makers learn from leading jurisdictions which may ultimately lead to the implementation of new ideas in legal instrument design. The dissertation concludes with a case study of one type of green productivity measure (water productivity) in order to illustrate how the information it produces could be applied by decision makers.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34153
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5304
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
Files