Since the late 1980s, Dutch environmental policy has built on close collaboration with industry, meaning: between industry on one side and governments on the other side. Through negotiations between sectors of industry, and the Ministry of the Environment and regional governments, agreements have been sought concerning the contribution of specific sectors to often ambitious environmental policy goals. After concluding agreements representatives of the same organizations frequently form committees to guide and maintain the implementation. Since 1989 more than 70 agreements have been reached. During 2002/2003 we were commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Environment to carry out the official evaluation of the negotiated agreements. Business leaders all over the world regard the Dutch approach as a promising example of how public policy can accommodate corporate social responsibility endeavours into business itself. In the Netherlands business support for this policy strategy is still extremely strong, but what are the prerequisites for properly functioning negotiated agreements? This article reports our empirical research on the subject. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.