Integrated Product Policy – Synopsis

Integrated Product Policy Ecological Economics and Industrial Ecology:
A case study of the Integrated Product Policy of the European Union

There is a hidden story behind every product, a story of which consumers are rarely aware. Exploring how products are made, how they are used and finally what happens to them at the end of their useful lives, researchers study environmental impacts arising at all those phases. Their conclusions serve as a basis for product-oriented environmental policies, a leading example of which is the Integrated Product Policy (IPP) of the European Union. As products are created from resources extracted from the environment, and as they eventually return to the environment in the form of waste and pollution, ‘product stories’ need to be put into a broader framework of analysing economy–environment interactions.

Through its focus on product life-cycles, and as a result of its ambitious geographical scope, the IPP has a great potential to contribute to sustainable development in the EU and, potentially also, globally. However, so far insufficient attention seems to have been paid to devising its conceptual foundations. As a result, the IPP seems not to be as integrated as the name suggests. Relevant implications might be sought in ecological economics and industrial ecology, both of which offer a holistic perspective on economy–environment interactions, and have a reputation of scientific foundations for the concept of sustainable development. The book explains the link between ecological economics and industrial ecology, and draws policy implications from both of these areas. These implications are then translated into recommendations for the IPP and by extension any other product-oriented environmental policy.

The book provides a novel approach to ecological economics, industrial ecology and product-oriented environmental policy. It offers:

  • a concise introduction to ecological economics and industrial ecology and the indication of their relationship (this may contribute to their more significant applicability to policy making)
  • a selection of recommendations for a product-oriented environmental policy (based on a case study of the IPP); and
  • an easy to follow review of a broad literature with most relevant references.

Published by Routledge

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