Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Jim Williams

Second Advisor

Maggie Winslow


Many environmental challenges are complicated by complex and social, cultural, economic and political interactions, which are difficult to address by a single entity. However, partnerships can offer the necessary depth and versatility to address them effectively. By working together, there is an opportunity for cross sector partners to leverage their unique expertise, while blending resources to achieve more comprehensive and sustainable solutions to existing environmental problems. This project examines the use of partnerships between environmental NGOs and the private sector to manage complex environmental problems, providing a critical assessment of the partnership attributes that generate the most mutual benefit. The research starts with a literature review, evaluating advantages and disadvantages of environmental NGO-private sector partnerships and describing beneficial outcome possibilities for each partner. This is used to build an assessment framework, which is the analysis of four environmental NGO-private sector partnerships: Environmental Defense Fund + McDonalds, Greenpeace + Kimberly Clark, The Nature Conservancy + PepsiCo, and World Wildlife Fund + Natural Habitat Adventures. This analysis points to the attributes that pair with the most beneficial environmental NGO-private sector partnership outcomes. A key finding is that the success of these partnerships is especially influenced by the degree to which individual partner missions are aligned and the extent to which the partnership has a formal structure to manage and achieve objectives. Recommendations for effective environmental NGO-private sector partnerships are offered based on the attributes that correlate with the greatest mutual benefits.