The programs that produce this environmental information may be inexpensive, politically expedient, far-reaching and especially flexible ways to influence environmental outcomes in a constrained and complicated world. But do environmental transparency programs work? Do they achieve program goals? Do they affect firms' bottom lines enough to motivate change?
"Save the Whales" was a rallying cry of 1970's environmentalism. The great sea mammals had been hunted to the brink of extinction and grassroots activists rallied to save them. But there might not have been any whales left to protect if the world hadn't embraced petroleum in place of whale oil a century earlier.