Beating the Microbead: How private environmental governance has influenced the regulatory process of banning microbeads in the UK
No wpr8k, MarXiv from Center for Open Science
Microplastics pollution in marine environments is one of the top global emerging conservation issues (Sutherland et al., 2010), with science gradually emerging about its detrimental impacts on animal welfare and human health. Microbeads have been identified as one source of microplastic pollution intentionally added to personal care and cosmetics products (PCCPs) (UNEP, 2015). Microbead governance has been subject to increasing involvement of private actors such as NGOs and businesses, besides government interventions through regulatory bans. Previous research suggests that private environmental governance has ambiguous effects in terms of democratic decision-making and transparency. This study advances our understanding of the type and impacts of private governance in the regulatory process of microbeads in the UK, drawing on the qualitative analysis of 3 expert interviews and 56 documents submitted to the government during the parliamentary inquiry phase. The case study analysis suggests that private governance of microbeads, in the form of voluntary certification schemes and corporate self-regulation, has the potential to significantly influence regulatory processes through their influence on power and market dynamics, and their ability to create a common discourse.
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