"A California Green Plan: Making the Case for Business," (PDF) by the Dominican University of California's School of Business and Leadership, looks at how green plans in the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and the European Union are set up and what they have achieved.
The authors argue that California is in a better position that any other state to implement a green plan that eliminates current obstacles, overlaps and difficulties with current regulations and government structures.
The report lays out a host of issues hindering operations within California. Four state entities address solid waste disposal in landfills, confusing the public and preventing the creation of a comprehensive state approach, the authors say. Three state programs handle pollution prevention, with different agencies covering recycling of different items and duplicating work. On the businesses side, different types of businesses need to contact varying numbers of agencies when getting set up; beauty salons need to go through eight agencies, and gas stations work through nine departments.
The authors also point out the state does not have an overall approach for regulating chemicals in products and packaging - regulations are currently on a chemical-by-chemical basis and contingent on efforts from policymakers and interest groups - although the state's Green Chemistry Initiative is pushing to change that approach.
Those issues and more have contributed to a state government that acts as a system of "non-integrated silos," the report says. An overall green plan and restructuring would lead the state to consolidate duplicate functions, create clear authority over specific areas and leverage its businesses and technologies. Such a plan would also benefit businesses by streamlining government operations and make industries more involved in regulations and programs.
Looking elsewhere around the world, the report examines how the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and European Union have run and updated green plans since the late 1980s or early 1990s. The Netherlands plan, created in 1989, has the overall goal of restoring the country's environment to "quality" within 25 years. The structure lets industries work with government and decide their own methods and strategies to meet the country's goals. Results so far include a 50 percent drop in pesticide use and a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 65 percent.
Although lacking specific proposals for California to undertake, the report includes a number of programs and legislation from the other green plans, and argues that California, more so that any other U.S. state, needs and would be the best beneficiary of a green plan due to its economy's size, breadth and reach both in the U.S. and around the world.