This paper develops a four-phase schematic representation dubbed the CEM lifecycle for conceptualizing how corporate environmental management (CEM) programs typically evolve in a given organization and then explicates the forces that influence corporate commitment as a CEM program progresses from inception to later phases of the CEM lifecycle. Examples are then presented on how the Singaporean government encourages enhancement of CEM programs by designing support programs that target the underlying corporate needs inherent to the first three CEM lifecycle phases. The examples provided in this paper of Singaporean CEM support programs illustrate how policy can be strategically designed to improve corporate uptake of CEM programs by enhancing CEM knowledge in the initial phase of the CEM lifecycle, providing technical support in the second lifecycle phase and providing opportunities for public recognition in the third lifecycle phase. The article concludes that replicating the strategic approach to policymaking exemplified in the Singaporean case study can significantly improve the competitiveness of domestic firms through encouraging more efficient use of resources; however, in order to design truly sustainable economies (provide for the needs of future generations), governments must be prepared to more coercively regulate the exploitation of natural endowments.
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