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Carl Dalhammar

Carl Dalhammar

Senior lecturer

Carl Dalhammar

Developing legislation to prevent environmental damage from products : A herculean but necessary task


  • Hans Christian Bugge
  • Carl Dalhammar
  • Eléonore Maitre-Ekern

Summary, in English

Why a Book about Product-Oriented Environmental Law? While laws relating to the environment have been around for centuries, it could be argued that modern environmental lawmaking started in the 1960s, when many nations began adopting acts specifically targeting the environment. The evolution of environmental law since then has followed several paths, from mainly local regulations to national, European and global laws; from a mere focus on environmental issues to a broader sustainability approach; from the regulation of point sources to increased regulation of diffuse emissions; and from command-and-control regulations to flexible legal and economic mechanisms. A frequent observation is that environmental law needs constant revision in order to keep abreast of new challenges and trends. This book is devoted to one of these trends in environmental law: its increasing focus on products. National and global environmental problems are increasingly the result of mass production and consumption. Products can have an adverse impact on the environment during different phases of their life cycle, including the extraction of raw materials; refinement and processing of materials; production of components and products; transport; and retail, use and final disposal. Not least, in the globalized economy, the negative effects of the trans-frontier transport of materials, products and: are also on the rise. The environmental impact of an individual product is insignificant in itself, but the cumulative effect of numerous products at the local as well as the global levels can be disastrous. Nevertheless, these cumulative effects are rarely internalized in the price of the product. This constitutes a market failure that leads to excessive consumption and production and to unacceptable environmental problems. Resolving these problems in an environmentally effective and economically efficient way, while also treating the various stakeholders involved fairly, is a major political and legal challenge. To correct this market failure and limit the environmental effects of products, some sort of public intervention or regulation is necessary. However, this is difficult given the nature of the problem and the sheer number of products and players involved in the production, marketing and disposal of products. Also, the environmental effects of products may be complex and difficult to identify and quantify contrary to pollution from more clearly defined, often stationary sources with a limited number of responsible actors.


  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Publishing year







Preventing Environmental Damage from Products : An Analysis of the Policy and Regulatory Framework in Europe

Document type

Book chapter


Cambridge University Press


  • Law (excluding Law and Society)




  • ISBN: 9781108500128
  • ISBN: 9781108422444