In this paper we first describe Mexican environmental policy and the present role of voluntary approaches therein. While ISO 14000 remains the most commonly used format for voluntary efforts by companies in Mexico, there is also a national scheme Industria Limpia, or Clean Industry, that has more and more participation, especially among the bigger companies. Though voluntary, participation is by no means non-committal. An elaborate auditing program belongs to the scheme. This shows that there is some openness in Mexico regarding the options for non-regulatory environmental policy.
In the second part of the paper we report on the basis of a survey among 16 Mexican business leaders that have responsibilities in the environmental management of their companies. None of them evaluated Mexican environmental policy as sufficient. Implementation is insufficient and several also think instrumentation is inapt. In those cases especially economic policy instruments are seen as a necessary addition, while also negotiated agreements are positively viewed. To improve implementation negotiated agreements as a framework to guide implementation is widely supported. Expectations regarding ambition, efficiency gains and positive side effects of the respondents look quite realistic giving the practical results as assessed in a study on the Dutch experience with negotiated agreements. The feasibility and success of negotiated agreements is in theoretical and empirical literature explained by four factors. The respondents assess these factors as quite favorable in the situation of their sectors of industry in Mexico. More research is necessary to gain further insight into the options and conditions for applying negotiated agreements in the Mexican context.