Environment and Sustainability Negotiation

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The need to protect the natural environment, that sustains all life, is now widely recognized. We have passed laws at every level of government to minimize the impact of development on the environment. The complex nature of socio-ecosystem interaction, however, means that these laws and regulations are complicated and open to interpretation. Most of the resources in question are limited and fragile, and different stakeholders want to interpret them in different ways.

Effective negotiation techniques offer parties a way to work through science-intensive public policy. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of role play exercises focused on numerous environmental issues, from the global management of pollutants like organochlorines to the siting of an incinerator in poor communities of color. Some of the role plays are aimed at training professionals in local land use planning while others are targeted at diplomats involved in global treaty-making.

We also offer a range of resources on environment and sustainability-related issues. Again, these span a broad spectrum. At the one end, we offer books like Transboundary Environmental Negotiation: New Approaches to Global Cooperation, directed toward those interested in international environmental diplomacy, while at the other we offer books like Using Dispute Resolution Techniques to Address Environmental Justice Concerns: Case Studies, which examine ways of resolving local disputes over environmental problems. Role-play simulations similarly span a broad spectrum.

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Case Studies & Articles

Gina Coplon-Newfield

This case study provides an intimate view into the fierce battle among major US nonprofit environmental groups, Members of Congress, and industry over energy policy in 2007. The resulting law slashed pollution by raising car efficiency regulations for the first time in three decades. For negotiators and advocates, this case provides important lessons about cultivating champions, neutralizing opponents, organizing the masses, and using the right message at the right time.

Stephen Weiss and Sarah Tatrallyay

This case study centers on the most challenging task for a negotiator: to reach a satisfactory agreement with a tough counterpart from a position of low power—and to do so in an uncommon context. The case concerns the executive director of a zoo in the U.S. who seeks two giant pandas, an endangered species, from their only source on the planet: China.

Role Simulations

Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Akron Steel

Allison Berland
A non-team, multi-issue, non-scorable exercise that gives participants an opportunity to map a conflict at the workplace.
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Amending Approval for the Storyville Pulp and Paper Mill

Consensus Building Institute and Alberta Environmental Appeal Board
Mediation of a three-party dispute among a paper mill, a community group, and an environmental regulatory agency over the paper mill's air pollution permit
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Beaumont Incinerator Exercise

Mona Haywood and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party task force negotiation regarding the application of environmental policy to the operation of an incinerator in a racially diverse community
Role Simulation
Todd Schenk under the supervision of David Fairman, David Plumb, Lawrence Susskind, Philip Angell, and Kelly Levin
Eight-party negotiation (with option for a ninth person facilitator) regarding climate change issues in a situation loosely based on the situation in Ghana.
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Billboards in Wyethville

Kelly Davenport and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party negotiation among business, municipal, and environmental representatives regarding a potential ban on billboard advertising
Role Simulation
Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind
Five-issue negotiation between three factory representatives and three Federal Environmental Agency representatives over the factory's new operational agreement, in the context of harsh public criticism of both parties
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Canada-China Panda Acquisition Negotiation

Stephen Weiss
Two-team (6 person), multi-issue contract negotiation between Canadian zoo CEOs and representatives of Chinese organization responsible for giant panda loans
Role Simulation
Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Carson Extension

Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, three-issue negotiation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Carson Extension - Mediated Version

Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, three-issue mediation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Chemco, Inc.

Wendy Pabich and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, five-issue negotiation between three industrial factory representatives and three environmental agency representatives over environmental and economic concerns in the wake of damaging negative publicity for both parties
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Chestnut Village

Thomas Wiegand
Multi-party, multi-issue negotiation between 3-4 construction company representatives and 5-6 neighborhood representatives over safety and nuisance complaints regarding a local construction project; internal team meetings precede external negotiations
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small, beachfront community.
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a medium-sized coastal community
Role Simulation
Global Treaty-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Computer Waste Policy Simulation

Lawrence Susskind
Ten-party, multi-issue chaired policy dialogue among government, environmental, and industry representatives in the fictional nation of Sweland over reform of the country's waste policies, in effort to gain membership in the "European Trade Area"
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DEC v. Riverside

David Lax, James Sebenius, Lawrence Susskind, and Thomas Weeks
Two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation between a manufacturer and a state environmental agency to reach a settlement over the manufacturer's pollution of a local river
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Development Dispute at Menehune Bay

Lawrence Susskind, Thomas Dinell, and Vicki Shook
Six-party, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation of a dispute over environmental issues, native rights, and commercial development interests in Hawaii
Role Simulation
Community Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Dioxin - Waste to Energy Game

Denise Madigan, Steve Foster, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among four scientists, a city representative, and an environmentalist to develop the city's solid waste management strategy; also known as: Dioxin: Resource Recovery.
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff I

Lawrence Susskind
Five-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

DirtyStuff II

Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, consumer/community, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

DS-30

Robert Ricigliano and Victor Issraelyan
Two-party, integrative international negotiation between representatives of two neighboring countries over compensation for pollution in one of the countries caused by an industrial accident in the other country
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

East Falls Brownfields

Tracy Dyke, under the direction of Lawrence Susskind and Susan Podziba
Seven-person, non-scoreable, facilitated negotiation among planners, regulators and activists regarding the cleanup and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated property
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Federal Lands Management IMatching the Process to the Situation

Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council, and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate decision-making process for a federal land management dispute
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Federal Lands Management IINegotiating a Resource Management Dispute

Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate environmental, commercial, residential, and other uses of federal lands in the Rocky Mountains
Role Simulation
Danya Rumore, Anjali Lohani, and Mubarik Imam
Seven-party, seven-person, multi-issue negotiation game involving a dispute over inter-provincial water allocations. It explores issues of prediction and monitoring, water sharing, and the environmental adequacy of water flows.
Role Simulation
Corporate Decision-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Fishladder Claim

Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind
Three-party, two-round internal negotiation among agency officials over whether to litigate or pursue non-binding arbitration to settle a contract claim against a private contractor
Role Simulation
Sarah Hammitt and Jessica Artiles under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
An eight-party, environmentally-focused role-play simulation, Flooding deals with an investment firm that is in the final stages of a multi-year planning process for a large, riverside mixed-use development. FEMA recently updated Evantown’s Flood Insurance Rate Map and the development falls within the 100-year floodplain. In addition, a study by the local university concludes that altered precipitation patterns brought on by climate change will put more and more properties at risk of flooding in the future. Should the firm be allowed to go through with the development? How and to what extent should Evantown take measures to protect itself against flood risks? Who is responsible for paying for whatever adaptation measures are used to protect vulnerable areas?
Role Simulation
Climate Change Negotiation Role-Play:

Flooding and Climate Change Risks in Northam

Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, environmental, and engineering representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a small coastal city
Role Simulation
Seven-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among local government, community, business, and environmental representatives trying to reach agreement on a strategy for managing climate change risks in a mid-size coastal city.
Role Simulation
Cross-Cultural Negotiation Role-Play:

Foreign Direct Investment in Mandoa

Michèle Ferenz, Stan Byers, and David Fairman with assistance from Professor Lawrence Susskind
A facilitated multi-party negotiation among government officials regarding the design of a foreign direct investment strategy that balances economic, societal, and environmental concerns
Role Simulation
Regulation Negotiation Role-Play:

Gadgets, Inc.

Cheri Peele and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among a company's management and union representatives, environmental groups, and state and federal environmental agencies over fines and adoption of new technology in response to the company's illegal polluting
Role Simulation
Global Treaty-Making Negotiation Role-Play:

Global Management of Organochlorines

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Mike Gordon, Adil Najam, Joshua Secunda, Granville Sewell, Parag Shah and Andrea Strimling
Thirteen-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among eight country representatives, four NGO representatives, and a working group chairperson must draft a treaty aimed at reducing harmful organochlorines; also known as "Chlorine Game"
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Harborco

Denise Madigan, Thomas Weeks, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation among representatives of a port developer, labor union, environmental coalition, other regional ports, governor's office, and department of coastal resources over a proposal to build a new deep-water port
Role Simulation
Tyler Corson-Rickert and Mónica Oliver under the direction of Professor Lawrence Susskind
This is a seven-party, integrative negotiation between stakeholders in a city over how to implement housing retrofits to enhance resilience to extreme heat in the aftermath of deadly heat waves attributed to climate change.
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Hitana Bay Development Simulation

International Programme for the Management of Sustainability, with Lawrence Susskind
Ten-party, multi-issue negotiation among government, development, industry, labor, and preservation interests over port improvements, real-estate development, and environmental protection in a Caribbean island harbor expansion
Role Simulation
Hannah Payne and Genea Foster under the direction of Lawrence Susskind
A seven-party role-play simulation involving a diverse set of stakeholders who must consider the short-term and long-term public health impacts of climate change while assessing the pros and cons of specific (and conflicting) risk management strategies
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

HumboldtMediating a Regional Development Dispute

Lawrence Susskind
Eight-person, multi-issue mediation among regional government, environmental, development, and business interests regarding environmental and economic tradeoffs and ethical issues in the development of a manufacturing plant
Role Simulation
Jennie Hatch under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation focused on issues of public engagement in hydropower-based energy development
Role Simulation
Science-Intensive Policy Disputes Negotiation Role-Play:

IndopotamiaNegotiating Boundary-Crossing Water Conflicts

Catherine M. Ashcraft under the supervision of Professors Lawrence Susskind and Shafiqul Islam
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Jefferson Hazardous Waste Negotiation

Vicki Arroyo and Lawrence Susskind
Eight-party, five-issue negotiation among community, environmental, business, and government interests over the formulation of a statewide hazardous waste siting policy
Role Simulation
Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Least-Cost Planning Exercise

Clinton Andrews and Lavinia Hall
Six-party, multi-issue mediation among electric utilities, consumer interests, environmentalists, and mediator with technical expertise, over the best way to meet increased demands for electricity
Role Simulation
Science-Intensive Policy Disputes Negotiation Role-Play:

Long RiverConfronting the Challenges of Instream Flow

Catherine Ashcraft and Larry Susskind
A six-party, seven-person (including the mediator), multi-issue mediation among representatives of governmental, business, environmental, recreational, and tribal interests regarding a dispute over developing an instream flow action plan
Role Simulation
Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing Groundwater Beneath the Pablo-Burford Border

Lawrence Susskind
Two-team, ten-person, multi-issue, co-chaired negotiation between representatives of two adjacent countries regarding the transboundary management of a severe water shortage crisis
Role Simulation
Public Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing Growth in Rockville

Armand Ciccarelli and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, multi-issue mediation among business, planning, environmental, and agricultural interests regarding growth management and comprehensive planning
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Meridia and Petrocentram

Abram Chayes and Antonia Handler Chayes
Two-party, four-issue negotiation between representatives of a Central American country and an international petroleum corporation over the terms of an offshore drilling project
Videos and Audio, Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

National Energy Policy Simulation

Eric Jay Dolin, Daniel Greenberg and Lawrence Susskind
Highly complex multi-party, multi-issue negotiation among political, industry, environmental, and consumer leaders and lobbyists to develop a detailed proposal to reduce U.S. vulnerability to changes in energy prices and supply
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Negotiated Rulemaking for Electric Utilities

Jonathan Raab and Lavinia Hall
Five-person facilitated negotiation among environmental, industry, public utility, and government representatives to revise a proposed rule incorporating environmental costs into electric utility rates
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Offshore Wind Farm Negotiation

MIT Students in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, under the supervision of Prof. Lawrence Susskind and Dr. Herman Karl
8-party nonscorable negotiation among commercial, environmental, and governmental stakeholders over a controversial proposal to develop offshore wind farms
Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

Open Lands A Private Planning Negotiation

Patrick Field, Ric Richardson, and John Harrison
Eight-person facilitated negotiation among seven landowners to develop voluntary private land-use plan to provide financial security while preserving open space and agricultural land

Video and Audio

Videos and Audio, Role Simulation
International Relations Negotiation Role-Play:

National Energy Policy Simulation

Eric Jay Dolin, Daniel Greenberg and Lawrence Susskind
Highly complex multi-party, multi-issue negotiation among political, industry, environmental, and consumer leaders and lobbyists to develop a detailed proposal to reduce U.S. vulnerability to changes in energy prices and supply

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