For over a century, American policymakers have worked to implement policies that conserve natural resources and protect the environment, from Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to establish national parks and the measures enacted in the wake of the Dust Bowl all the way to the efforts of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. But simply passing an environmental policy is not the end goal of these efforts—the end goal is protecting natural resources and the planet in the long run. In order to do that, multiple conditions need to be satisfied. A policy must pass, it must be signed, it must be enacted, and it must last.
In 2021, the Walton Family Foundation (Walton) engaged with TCC Group (TCC) to
conduct a study on the concept of policy durability—or how policies last and effect change for long periods of time. Policy durability is generally assumed to be a desirable end state for advocates working to pass a particular policy. This report examines overall policy durability, often through the lens of environmental policy. The goal of this engagement was exploratory in nature, with the intent to gather information and insights on the conditions that make policies durable. In synthesizing what we found, our goal is to help funders and advocates be more effective in pursuing policies that will be durable in addition to being effective.