Partnership Mode of Organising Government-Business Relationships: The Case of Green Network in Denmark
Martin Lehmann and Olav Jull Soerensen, Aalborg University, Denmark
At the 2002 Earth Summit in Johannesburg, it was concluded that public-private partnerships should be one of the pivotal mechanisms of greening. This underlined the shift in regulatory regimes that has been going on for more than a decade. Moving from largely command and control measures in the 1970s and 80s, through cleaner production initiatives and self-regulatory initiatives in the 90s, the emphasis is increasingly on using the network and partnerships as levers for promoting a greening of industry.

In terms of public-private partnerships, one of the foremost Danish initiatives is the Green Network in the county of Vejle. This initiative currently involves more than 250 companies and 10 public bodies. The Network started in 1994 and has grown in size and importance ever since. Fundamentally, it aims at providing new forms of cooperation between public authorities and private companies. The vehicle for this was initially an environmental statement. With the passing of time, however, the demands and pressures on both companies and public bodies have increased. Thence, the tools and means employed - outside as well as inside the Network - have developed accordingly.

In this paper, the authors discuss a distinct partnership mode of government business relationships, a strategic alliance with respect; trust; and mutual legitimacy, and relate this to the Green Network way of doing things.

The “Partnership Model” has a number of essential features, and can be used normatively, i.e. a local region or a country can utilise the model as a starting point for the establishing of relations between Government and Business; or the model can be used descriptively to analyse present Government-Business relationships, e.g. in relation to a specific functional area such as the environment. It is the latter approach that is applied in this paper.

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