Multicountry studies by the Gallup and Roper research organizations have recently tracked some of these variations (Gallup, 1992; Roper Organization, 1992). As background for these analyses, it may be useful to review briefly the status of government policy in the major Triad markets.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the past decade has added to its traditional "end-of-pipe" pollution controls a focus on pollution prevention. New approaches have included building a network of prevention programs and developing partnerships with the private sector. For example, the voluntary 33/50 Program initiative to reduce emissions of 17 chemicals (including benzene, cyanide, lead and mercury) by 33 percent by 1992 by 50 percent at the end of 1995 was adopted by over 1,100 U.S companies (Carra, 1993).
However, U.S. policy still remains fragmentary. In the absence of truly uniform federal legislation, some states have started to fill the void with their own measures. Several states have adopted or are considering laws similar to the 1990 California guidelines that mandate the phasing in of alternative fuels and dictate that 10 percent of all cars be emission free by 2003. It is likely that in this case, manufacturers will have to align themselves with the toughest state rules in the absence of a federal standard.
Even though Europe as early as 1972 adopted the "polluter pays" principle and has since issued over 150 environmental directives, there are still considerable variations in policy among the major markets, from the aggressive standards of Germany and Scandinavia to what has been called ecobacktracking in the United Kingdom and a general in Southern Europe.
Even in the most advanced markets, the recent recession has had a negative effect on environmental progress. Environmental research has lost about one-third of its funding from German federal government, and ecology now ranks third in opinion polls as a national concern—behind unemployment and increasing crime—after having topped surveys consistently since the late 1980s. Support for Die Grilnen, the Green Party, fell below the 5-percent mark in western Germany's December 1990 elections, and therefore won no seats. Two Greens were elected in eastern Germany as part of a coalition.
While environmental progress is declining, however, business is moving ahead with path breaking transportation technology. Mercedez-Benz, BMW. and Volkswagen are at the forefront of ecological design in car production; BMW