Faradj Koliev. Photo: Ulf Lodin.

As governments are unable to agree on hard sanctions, various international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) have turned to naming and shaming – a strategy of public criticism – to improve countries’ environmental protection. But is naming and shaming effective, despite lacking sanctioning mechanisms? Does naming and shaming actually lead to enhanced environmental protection? If so, under what conditions? Though INGO naming and shaming is an integral part of global governance, its impact remains poorly understood.

This three-year project aims to study environmental INGOs’ naming and shaming of states from 1970 to 2020, covering 201 countries. Unlike previous research, the project adopts a comprehensive approach to the issue by 1) examining the determinants of INGO shaming, and 2) assessing its impact on environmental regulations. The project is the first systematic and longitudinal analysis of the impact of INGO naming and shaming on environmental regulations. It adopts a mixed-methods approach, generating two unique datasets on INGO naming and shaming and environmental regulations as well as qualitative data through in-depth interviews. Theoretically, it will assess and develop recent theorization on social pressure and apply it to the study of environmental politics. The project will benefit from input from leading scholars on NGOs, shaming and environmental politics in four different universities, providing opportunities to interact and built new research networks.

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