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Mobilizing Market Forces to Combat Global Environmental Change: Lessons from UN–Private Sector Partnerships in China



While globalization has brought far-reaching benefits to communities around the world in the form of increasing foreign investment and trade, and reduced levels of poverty, the externalities of the global market have also taken on greater prominence. In particular, issues of global environmental change now stand as a central concern for governments around the world, with increasing threats to the sustainability of hard-won development gains. While international frameworks such as the United Nations conventions on climate change and biodiversity have been enacted to take joint action on issues of common concern, a major challenge has been to enact effective implementation regimes to achieve results on the ground. One hope lays in the forces of the market itself, engaging global market forces and the role of the private sector to facilitate a global shift to sustainable growth and business practices. This article analyses this challenge and emerging opportunities for market-based approaches to implement international environmental law through a case study of China and the innovative partnerships being forged there between the UN, governmental and private institutions.

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