Article 13 of 20 – “The evolving role of trade associations in negotiated environmental agreements: the case of United Kingdom climate change agreements”

Having diverted (pivotted?) towards industrial policy and business model innovation, it’s back to the theme of some of the earlier reading now – UK climate policy, but bringing in the business power side of things, and the mechanics of that power…

And OMFG this below is EXCELLENT…

Bailey, I. and Rupp, S., 2006. The evolving role of trade associations in negotiated environmental agreements: the case of United Kingdom climate change agreements. Business Strategy and the Environment, 15, 40–54. doi:10.1002/ bse.465

Basically, they talked to a bunch of people who’d lobbied.

The data collection for this paper consisted of three main phases: a postal census survey of the 44 UK sector associations that signed CCAs in 2001, a postal survey of companies within three of these sectors, and in-depth interviews with trade associations and government officials involved in the design and management of CCAs.

(Bailey and Rupp: 2006: 46)

They have some super important insights about the role of trade associations

Business associations can be categorized into several broad types: trade associations, professional associations, associations of the self-employed or sole traders, and chambers of commerce (Bennett, 1998). Trade-association membership tends to be grouped by industry sector and dominated by companies (as opposed to professional associations, whose affiliates are normally individual employees or sole traders).

Representation and lobbying are the prime activities and raisons d’être of most trade associations, though they may also provide value-added services, such as the publication of aggregated statistics, analysis of

market information, commentary and guidance on policy, fora for information exchange and the promotion of their sector beyond the governmental level (Boleat, 2000).

(Bailey and Rupp: 2006: 43)

About the history of UK associations and the relations between them.

The literature suggests a range of benefits from strong, well resourced trade associations, including encouragement of improved business performance, enhanced compliance with regulations, lower administrative costs, more rapid response of regulations to technical and market developments and improved utilization of market knowledge (Bennett, 1998; Izushi, 2002). In the past, however, this potential has rarely been fulfilled by UK trade associations. Lobbying has historically been their main activity but, due to a profusion of associations – often in competition with each other – and lack of a strong peak organization3 they have frequently been by-passed by British governments and have rarely been prime consultees on government industrial policy. This has resulted in falling membership and a common perception among companies that trade associations are an overhead rather than an investment, in contrast with the German situation, where trade associations have formal status, plentiful resources and high membership, and many offer a range of consultancy services (Lane and Bachmann, 1997). The poor credibility of UK trade associations with government was emphasized by the last Conservative administration’s Heseltine initiative, which argued that the high number of associations debilitated them as a coordinating voice for industry and called for mergers and coalitions into lead associations. Although the current Labour administration has shown a more neutral stance towards associations, ministers have continued to deal mainly with leading companies rather than trade-association representatives (Macdonald, 2001).

(Bailey and Rupp: 2006: 44)

And the impact that lobbying had.

Responding to industry’s protestations about the competitive effects of the CCL, the government simultaneously announced a series of alleviating measures, the first of which was to offer selected energy-intensive sectors an 80% reduction in the CCL in exchange for legally binding Climate Change Agreements (CCAs). Each CCA set sector-specific emissions and/or energy efficiency targets based on independent assessments by the Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU, now Future Energy Solutions) of the potential greenhouse gas savings in each sector, with trade associations acting as lead negotiators on behalf of their members.5

(Bailey and Rupp: 2006: 45)


According to a DTI official, the 12 trade associations that attended early meetings to determine the design of the CCAs had quite a high input into the overall structure of the agreements. The Treasury initially offered only a 50% CCL reduction to a few energy intensive sectors but was persuaded by trade association lobbyists to increase this to 80% and make CCAs available to more sectors (Smith, 2002).

(Bailey and Rupp: 2006: 48)

Reference list to die for, obvs, and these of particular interest.

Bennett R. 1998. Business associations and their potential to contriubte to economic development: reexploring an interface between the state and market. Environment and Planning A 30: 1367–1387.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Engineering Employers Federation (EEF). 2002. The Climate Change Levy: First Year Assessment. CBI: London.

Eden S. 1999. ‘We have the facts’ – how business claims legitimacy in the environmental debate. Environmental Planning A 31: 1295–1309: 39.

Lane C, Bachmann R. 1997. Cooperation in inter-firm relations in Britain and Germany: the role of social institutions. British Journal of Sociology 48: 226–254.

Macdonald A. 2001. The Business of Representation: the Modern Trade Association. A Report to the Trade Association Forum. Trade Association Forum: London.

Smith A. 2002. Policy transfer in the development of UK climate policy for business. SPRU Science and Technology Policy Research Electronic Working Paper Series 75: 1–24.

Ten Brink P, Morere M, Wallace-Jones J. 2003. Negotiated agreements and climate change mitigation. In Firms, Governments and Climate Policy, Carraro C, Egenhofer C (eds). Elgar: Cheltenham.

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