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The emerging set of standards know collectively as ISO 14000 has generated a great deal of interest in industry and amongst the public agencies responsible for insuring their environmental performance. Industry and government alike seem to be embracing the standards as soon as they are released. In particular, both groups are looking to the standards as a key component of a new paradigm for cooperation between regulators and industry. This paper discusses some of the opportunities as well as potential pitfalls which environmental policy makers should consider while formulating their strategies for including ISO 14000 and other EMS standards in technical assistance, compliance and regulatory programs. It also will address the necessity for ISO 14000 and a globally standardized set of environmental principles, its history and its future.