Inderscience Publishers

Assessing the role of voluntary environmental management arrangements in agriculture: an Australian perspective

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In the context of compelling environmental challenges and community environmental expectations, this paper considers the response of Australian agriculture to deficiencies in 'traditional' environmental management. How can the environment be protected while improving economic efficiency for producers, and providing export advantages in terms of marketing 'clean and green' Australian produce? This paper addresses these crucial issues, focusing particularly on the potential of Voluntary Environmental Management Arrangements (VEMAs) to meet growing environmental challenges. This paper describes the emergence of VEMAs as a response to deficiencies in 'traditional' environmental management in the agricultural context and critically appraises the usefulness of this model of environmental management. The author assesses the available evidence and draws significant conclusions about the effectiveness and desirability of voluntary management approaches as a stand-alone policy instrument.

Keywords: agriculture, environmental management systems, EMS, food, voluntary approach, environmental protection, Australia, clean produce, green produce, voluntary management, policy instruments

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