Moving from largely command and control measures in the 1970s and 80s, through cleaner production initiatives and self-regulatory initiatives in the 90s, the emphasis in the new millennium is more on using networks and partnerships as levers for promoting a greening of industry. In terms of public-private partnerships, one of the foremost Danish initiatives is the Green Network in the county of Vejle. This initiative currently involves more than 200 companies and 10 public bodies. The Network started in 1994 and has grown in size and importance ever since. Fundamentally, it aims at providing new forms of cooperation between public authorities and private companies. The vehicle for this was initially an environmental statement. With the passing of time, however, the demands and pressures on both companies and public bodies have increased. Thence, the tools and means employed - outside as well as inside the Network - have developed accordingly. A constant flow of recipes or standards is the order of the day for modern companies and organisations. What is important for their survival is the ability to cope with this flow, adopting relevant recipes from it and incorporating these into their organisation - and dispensing with them when they become outmoded. This ability is exhibited by what Røvik (1998, pp. 284) calls the ?multi-standard organisation?, and he identifies five fundamental capacities that define it: 1) high absorption capacity, 2) the capacity to decouple recipes that do not fit in, 3) the capacity to translate new recipes in a quick and easy way, 4) the capacity to detach old or worn down institutions, and 5) preserve and reactivate older forms of institutional recipes. the capacity to An evaluation of Green Network reveals that the five capacities outlined in Røvik?s theory are all present. Green Network has exhibited a remarkable ability to keep up with trends in the development of the idea of ecological transformation. They have been able to keep pace with all the important developments during the last ten years, absorbing what they find important and discarding aspects that do not fit into their vision and programmes, or which are not in accordance with their basic views. New influences from the institutional field are quickly translated. The resulting manuals, tools and ways of propagating knowledge (Idea-forum, Green Network flag, news-letter, web-site etc.) all reflect the ?Green Network way of doing things?, i.e. keep it simple, work together and share knowledge.
Environmental Management; Self-Regulation; Public-Private Partnerships; Green Network
Main Research Area:
11th Greening of Industry Network Conference, October 12-15 2003