Discussion concerning environmental protection often focuses on the role of government, legislation and enforcement, however in its broadest sense environmental protection may be seen to be the responsibility of all people and not simply that of government. Decisions that impact on the environment will ideally involve a broad range of stakeholders including industry, indigenous groups, environmental group and community representatives. Gradually environmental decision-making processes are evolving to reflect this broad base of stakeholders and are becoming more collaborative in many countries. Environmental protection is influenced by three interwoven factors: environmental legislation, ethics and education. Each of these factors plays its part in influencing national level environmental decisions and personal level environmental values and behaviours. For environmental protection to become a reality it will be important for societies to develop each of these areas that together will inform and drive environmental decisions. Although environmental protection is not simply the role of government agencies they are however generally seen as being of prime importance in establishing and maintaining basic standards that protect both the environment and the people interacting with it. Outlined below are several approaches to environmental protection that are currently evolving. Further discussion on approaches to environmental protection is included on the pages related to natural resource management, environmental governance and environmental law. Voluntary Environmental agreements
In industrialised countries voluntary environmental agreements often provide a platform for companies to be recognised for moving beyond the minimum regulatory standards and thus support the development of best environmental practice. In developing countries such as throughout Latin America, these agreements are more commonly used to remedy significant levels of non-compliance...
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