The rise and fall of a product-oriented environmental policy
Department of Development and Planning
Aalborg University, Denmark
|The experience with a product-oriented environmental policy (IPP) in Denmark has been examined regarding to what extent new patterns of environmental governance were developed. IPP is understood as a step towards sustainable development, which embraces a more comprehensive understanding of environmental problems and possible solutions as well as the use of additional instruments in the environmental policy. Furthermore, IPP is aiming at new patterns of governance with innovative types of interaction between market, state and self-regulation. |
The rise and fall of a Danish product-oriented environmental policy is analysed from the policy cycle - the emergence, formulation, implementation and reformulation. Three themes are in focus: development of cleaner products, market perspectives, and stakeholder participation. A special aim of Danish IPP was to combine the supply and demand side in order to develop and market cleaner products. Stakeholder participation was seen as a necessary component in order to create interest in sustainable production and consumption. A successful example on stakeholder participation – the product panel on textiles – will be described and analysed.
The change to a liberal-conservative government has not caused a change in the rhetoric regarding sustainable development and in the use of policy instruments such as green taxes, etc. The reason for this stability is that changing governments are dependent on the revenue from green taxes and furthermore, several policy instruments are decided internationally in the EU (normative instruments and increasingly also economic instruments such as tradable permits), in International Standardisation Organisation (self-regulatory instruments like ISO 14001) or in the UN (visions and codes of conduct such as Global Compact).
However, national institutional arrangements are necessary in order to monitor and adjust policy instruments and to coordinate the different institutions and actor groups involved. In these areas majors setbacks has occurred during the past years. Danish EPA has been reduced significantly, which gives attention to legally determined tasks of the administration. Besides, all fora such as environmental council, product panels etc. and important arrangements (the subsidy scheme for IPP) has been either abolished or diminished significantly by the liberal-conservative government.
The pattern of governance with the blend of self-regulation, market instruments, facilitating role of government etc. demands policy coordination and stakeholder participation in the environmental policy, but this has been phased out. Without this pattern of governance, the objectives of the government regarding Sustainable development related to industry seem first and foremost symbolic.