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Carl Dalhammar

Carl Dalhammar

Senior lecturer

Carl Dalhammar

Present and future challenges for Europe’s environmental product policy


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

Summary, in English

Concerns about the environmental effects of the ‘throwaway society’ are increasingly influencing policy-making and regulatory action in the EU. The Seventh Environment Action Programme, which aims to guide European environmental policy, sets out a long-term vision for the EU that requires a major shift in the way economic activities are conducted: In 2050, we live well, within the planet’s ecological limits. Our prosperity and healthy environment stem from an innovative, circular economy where nothing is:d and where natural resources are managed sustainably, and biodiversity is protected, valued and restored in ways that enhance our society’s resilience. Our low-carbon growth has long been decoupled from resource use, setting the pace for a safe and sustainable global society. This long-term goal necessitates a fundamental rethink of the way we produce, consume and dispose of products. Preventing products damaging the environment is not, however, a straightforward exercise. Consumption society has given rise to a multitude of products to satisfy every need, desire or impulse we might have, even to the extent of creating new ʼneeds’. From food to cosmetics and cleaning products, from books to computers and smartphones, from light bulbs to dishwashers and vacuum cleaners, from toys to cars, we live surrounded by products as diverse in their use as in their composition and lifespan. The extent and variety of the damage caused to the environment by their production, use and disposal is no less extensive. As there cannot be a simple response to a complex problem, this volume has explored a variety of possible approaches to preventing this damage. In this chapter, we revisit the main arguments and findings of the preceding chapters. We start by looking at how the various contributions use the existing literature and legislation to challenge the way the economy accounts for and addresses environmental damage caused by products. Based on the premise that regulating products must proceed through a policy mix, we present the proposed approaches to designing such a policy mix, as well as the challenges that arise from diverging objectives and overlapping instruments within it. Finally, we discuss the future challenges and main areas where research can untangle more of the ins and outs of a product policy that minimizes damage on the environment.


  • 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 and Society




  • ISBN: 9781108500128
  • ISBN: 9781108422444