A revised version of this working paper has been published as:
Bouteligier, Sofie. 2011. Exploring the agency of global environmental consultancy firms in earth system governance . International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 11 (1): 43-61. Special Issue on “Agency in Earth System Governance”.
In contemporary global environmental governance, private companies are both recipients of, as well as contributors to the development and spread of environmental practices, norms, standards and legislation. One sector that seems to be of particular significance is the environmental consultancy industry. It assists public and private actors in developing environmental solutions and ensuring implementation and compliance by providing particular knowledge, management and assessment skills. However, little attention has been paid to the environmental authority and agency of companies active in this field. This exploratory study on global environmental consultancy firms is guided by the basic research questions on agency in earth system governance: What is agency? How do actors acquire authority and become agents? How can we evaluate the effects these agents generate?
Key Words: Agency, Environmental consultancy firms, Environmental authority, Globalization