Strategic Environmental Management (SEMA)


Strategic Environmental Management (SEMA) [Analyse stratégique de la gestion environnementale, ASGE in French] is the framework which summarises and organises my and my colleagues’ work on environmental management. A comprehensive synthesis of that work is available online on IDDRI’s site.

Here is a summary of that paper.
Beyond the collaborative model. Over the last two decades, most approaches analysing or promoting environmentally motivated change have espoused a collaborative model of collective action. This model can become misleading if it reaches the point of downplaying the importance of challenging unsustainable activities through pressure and conflict.
Focusing on environmental actors. Strategic Environmental Management Analysis (SEMA) offers an approach that focuses analysis on the situation and activity of those actors who are acting in favour of specific environmental outcomes and on strategic factors and actions that may allow to obtain from other actors the changes that may deliver such outcomes.
Facing resistance to change. Strategic, organised resistance to environmentally motivated change is an important feature of most environmental issues. SEMA helps taking it clearly into account in the diagnostic of environmental management situations, of environmentally related organisational dynamics, in policy evaluation and in the assessment of environmental management sets of guidelines.
Promoting more pluralistic debate. Since it focuses on the conditions for the satisfactory resolution, in given cases, of specific environmental issues, SEMA does not attempt to cover systematically all dimensions and concerns of sustainable development. But, as it works towards clear answers on the environmental dimension, it welcomes other approaches to clarify other dimensions and concerns on their own terms, eventually leading to better informed and more pluralistic dialogue, negotiation, or public confrontation.

More thorough theoretical developments about SEMA can be found and downloaded on the site from my publication list (see especially Mermet 2006, Mermet & al. 2005 NSS, as well as lectures 6 and 7 in the RES lecture cycle), and also in some of the doctoral dissertations devoted to the topic (see for instance Maya Leroy, Romain Taravella).