Environmental Principles and Policies – 2006

Author: S BEDER
Publisher: Earthscan, London
Pages: 304 - PBK
ISBN: 1-84407-404-8

At last we have a plain language book that tackles some of the major issues embodied in that wonderfully ambiguous phrase “environmental principles and policies”. This book helped me to refresh my understanding on matters which I have worked on for a long time and not revised against their theoretical base. (A failing that I think everyone has from time to time.)

The book tackles six fundamental environmental principles: sustainability principle, polluter pays principle, precautionary principle, equity principle, human rights principle, and participation principle. The principles are explained in a clear and straightforward manner and given both a historical and contemporary perspective. They are then put into an economic context to illustrate how they relate to business operating structures and applied into a trade and market environment.

The book stimulated many revised thoughts and ideas, not so much on definitions but on application and how different stakeholders can interpret the meanings in different ways. Obviously, this will impact upon expectations and clearly differing stakeholder groupings can establish quite different means of using (and abusing) the principles and policies for their own specific agendas. The author has very skilfully explained and expanded upon what is behind these particular principles and created a very useful base on which the principles can be debated and discussed.

On first reading, I thought the book shaped up to be a textbook for students and practitioners. However, on a second reading, I realised that high level managers and directors could also benefit from reading the work, if only to understand the potential of other mindsets and perspectives. For some, it would also be the first time they would have understood the significance of environmental principles and policies for their business responsibilities.

A good, practical guide which will be valuable to environmental practitioners and managers and could be strategically “passed up” to higher levels….