Understanding the Adaptive Capacity of Actors in Environmental Governance: The Case of Transboundary Movement of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)


Recent papers have highlighted the importance of adaptive ability in environmental governance. The capacity to anticipate and respond to environmental changes has been a priority for many organisations and academics studying environmental governance. While the considerable study focuses on adaptable capacity at the institutional and societal levels, little is known about the adaptive capacity of actors and how that ability might be strengthened. Additionally, a study deficit exists on the adaptive ability of essential players in environmental governance in the context of transboundary movement of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), which has tremendous negative consequences, particularly in developing countries. Thus, based on a conceptualisation of adaptive capacity and environmental governance, this paper identifies four characteristics of actors’ adaptable capability in the context of the transboundary WEEE movement. The interview was a qualitative research approach to elicit data from WEEE sector players in governmental, commercial, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The findings illustrate the current state of WEEE in Thailand, the import and regulation of WEEE in Thailand, and a lack of knowledge and managerial capacity to address WEEE issues. Additionally, the data show that adaptive capacity consists of learning and evaluation, coordination and cooperation, responsiveness and reconfiguration, and accountability. These are essential components of environmental governance’s adaptive capacity. The ideas have consequences for policymakers who wish to strengthen actors’ adaptive ability via enabling elements such as training, systems, and regulations.