Up until a few decades ago, the market was seen as an enemy of the environment. Indeed, as a rule, businesses do not spontaneously assume responsibility for the so-called 'negative side effects' or concern themselves with the long-term consequences of the impoverishment of natural resources caused by the procurement of raw materials. The emergence of a new sensitivity in the regards of environmental problems has led most States to undertake environmental policies. In an early phase, legislation in the matter made ample use of traditional 'command and control' instruments, drawing on the entire apparatus of authoritative tools. Only in more recent years have theoretical reflection and institutional debate shed light not only on the so-called failings of the market - i.e. the insufficiency of private law to guarantee an effective protection of the environment - but also the flaws of a type of public regulation marked by rigid 'command and control' mechanisms. Thus, a debate has begun over the possibility of using market instruments for environmental protection purposes. At the national, EU and international level modalities for intervention have been tried out consistent with the idea that environment and market constitute two notions that are not necessarily always in conflict.