Versita

IMPORTANCE OF VOLUNTARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMMES IN ENSURING COMPLIANCE OF LEGAL ENTITIES WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

LINAS MEŠKYS
Keywords: Environmental law, voluntary environmental programmes, environmental self-auditing, voluntary disclosure ,

Abstract

Legal entities are among the most active participants of the social relations in modern society, but they also are becoming one of the main sources of environmental risks. With the growing negative intervention of the economic activities of legal entities into environment, legal regulation of relations of economic activities to environment should not be oriented towards application of state enforcement mechanism solely. Compliance with the environmental law and prevention of its breaches can be ensured efficiently through implementing alternative environmental protection measures, having a preventive character and based on a voluntary basis. However, a command and control mechanism, based on applying enforcement procedures to legal entities, which do not comply with the requirements of environmental law, still prevails in Lithuania. In this context, experience of other countries enables justified assuming that various environmental programmes, grounded on voluntary bases rather than on enforcement can be significantly more efficient for ensuring compliance of legal entities with the requirements of environmental regulations. This article, through experience of the United States, analyses importance of voluntary environmental programmes in guaranteeing compliance of legal entities with the requirements of environmental law, and examines implementation of those programmes within the European Union and Lithuania.