Sociology Index


Green-collar crimes are defined as crimes committed against the environment for profit. The patterns of illegality in green-collar crimes  and environmental crime is a new subject. The term 'Environmental Crime' is also used to refer to a green-collar crime. Green-collar criminologists conduct research into the forms, causes, and consequences of law breaking that harms the environment. Green-collar crimes include a violation of the criminal provisions in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970, the Federal Pollution Control Act of 1972, or the Endangered Species Act. Other Collar-crimes and Occupational Crimes include: White-collar crime, Blue-collar Crime, Pink-collar Crime, Black-collar crime, and Red-collar Crime.

The term "green criminology" was introduced by Michael J. Lynch in 1990, and was expanded upon in Nancy Frank and Michael J. Lynch's 1992 book, Corporate Crime, Corporate Violence, which examined the political economic origins of green crime, green collar crime, and the scope of environmental law. Some consider “green crimes” to be a part of white-collar crimes.

In 2013, Ian David Macdonald and David John Downes of the U.K. were the two of the first individuals to be charged with a green-collar crime for their involvement with a carbon credit boiler room scam, ultimately defrauding investors out of $9 million dollars (U.S.). The men were charged with 4 and 8 year prison sentences, proving green-collar crimes are considered serious.

Sentencing the Green-Collar Offender: Punishment, Culpability, and Environmental Crime
Michael M. O'Hear. Abstract: Federal law regulates waste management and pollution emissions through an intricate system of administrative rules and permits. Violations of these legal requirements may result not only in civil money penalties, but also in criminal prosecution. The federal sentencing guidelines for environmental crimes reflect an ad hoc, largely incoherent approach to guidelines development. In some cases of minimal culpability, the guidelines recommend sentences far in excess of what seems theoretically justifiable.

Green-Collar Crime: Environmental Crime and Justice in the Sociological Perspective
Brian Wolf, Department of Sociology, University of Idaho. Abstract: Sociologists have begun to develop a framework for examining green-collar crimes. Definitional issues relevant to the subield of green-collar crimes or environmental crime are elucidated. This aims to map where criminology has been in the subfield of green-collar crimes or environmental crime and provides directions for where future research should be headed.
 This article is a survey of research relevant to green criminology, and the theoretical dilemmas, and methodological issues associated with studying green-collar crimes. A review of recent studies that have reoriented the field of green-collar crime and paved way for future research. An offender typology and description is presented to specify what types of social actors may be involved in green-collar crimes or environmental crime. While the patterns of victimization became increasingly clear, relatively little was known about those responsible for green-collar crimes.

Green Collar Criminals: Why Should They Receive Special Treatment? - Jane F. Barrett. Abstract: Criminal enforcement of federal environmental laws, a novel concept in 1976, has evolved significantly during the last twenty years. Although many aspects of environmental criminal enforce- ment have changed during this time period, one constant is a refrain that has become the mantra for some members of the environmenta defence bar. The environmental criminal prosecutions are out of control and innocent businessmen are unfarely being convicted. A new category of federal crime under the head "Green Collar Crime" should be created which would entitle those who violate federal environment law to special treatment and benefits not afforded to "white collar crimes."