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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The mission of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is to generate knowledge and provide solutions for regional and global environmental problems and to educate the next generation of professional leadership committed to the health of our planet. Through its local, national, and international programs, the IoES employs innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to address critical environmental challenges - including those related to climate change, water quality, air pollution, biodiversity, and sustainability - with the goal of achieving stable human coexistence with the natural systems on which society depends.

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Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

There are 26 publications in this collection, published between 2010 and 2017.
Recent Work (26)

Top Management Involvement in the Adoption of Energy Efficiency Projects

This paper investigates the role of top management in the adoption of energy-efficiency initiatives. We study data from 175 energy efficiency assessments done by San Diego State University (SDSU) during 2000-2008 as part of the Department of Energy’s Industrial Assessment Center Program. We find that top management involvement leads to firms adopting 30% more of the savings identified in an assessment. We also find that when top management is involved, the average payback of adopted proposals is 57.7% longer. When top managers do reject a recommendation, they are more likely to cite operational barriers, as opposed to economic or organizational ones, than other employees are. Altogether, this suggests that top managers perceive less resource constraints than other managers do and adopt a longer perspective on energy efficiency investments. Overall, our findings shed new light on how top management involvement influences the adoption of process innovations.

Sustainability and Market Conditions:The Resource Efficiency paradox

In this paper we analyze the factors that drive the adoption of resource efficiency practices in constrained economic times. We uncover the ‘paradox’ of lower investments in resource efficiency practices in a downturn market and identify the characteristics of firms that seek the opportunity to invest more in such conditions. We argue that even though the attractiveness of resource efficiency practices should increase in downturn market conditions, such practices require complementary capabilities, strategies and organizational structure for their successful adoption. We test our framework using data from a French survey with responses from5, 877firms. Our results show that only 6% of the firms in our sample invest in resource efficiency practices in downturn markets, and that those firms are more likely to be vertically integrated, and to have a main focus on cost leadership strategies, have adopted environmental standards and conduct their research internally. We provide recommendations to encourage more widespread adoption of such models of frugal strategies.

Multi-objective fuel policies: Renewable fuel standards versus Fuel greenhouse gas intensity standards

Governments throughout the world have enacted policies to support the introduction of alter- natives to crude oil. These policies are viewed as means to achieve multiple objectives such as energy independence and security, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, protect fuel con- sumers and support infant industries. We evaluate the trade-o�s presented by di�erent policy instruments such as renewable fuel (biofuel) standards (RFS), fuel GHG intensity standards (FGIS) and fuel GHG tax in achieving these objectives. Using a two-region partial-equilibrium model, we �nd that the relative performance of the two policies, RFS and FGIS, relative to each other and relative to a fuel tax, depends on whether the policy is global or regional in scope. Whereas the FGIS has better environmental performance than RFS when applied globally, the two policies lead to similar environmental outcomes when the policy is regional. RFS leads to bigger marker share for non-crude oil fuels than both FGIS and fuel tax.

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