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Between a policy mix and a policy mess: Policy instruments and instrumentation for the circular economy

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The transition to a circular economy is high on the European Union’s policy agenda. The systemic and disruptive changes required for such a transition will not take place without significant changes in existing regulatory structures. In this chapter we aim to provide a broad overview of the European Union’s circular economy policy goals and different policy instruments available to Member States to steer change towards a more circular economy. Many different policy instruments have been adopted to promote more sustainable resource use, including areas of waste, product and chemicals policy. However, these are often scattered, weak and disproportionately divided along economic sectors. We show that whilst there are policy instruments available, to address the fundamental socio-economic metabolism changes required, key policy failures need to be addressed in order to make real progresses toward the circular economy.

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Chapter
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Chapter
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Government uses a wide variety of instruments to reach its policy goals, ranging from indirect methods, such as moral suasion and cash inducements, to more direct ones involving government provision of services. Although there has been a fair amount of writing on the nature and use of various policy instruments, there is very little work on either the meaning ascribed to these instruments by the decisionmakers who use them (or the experts who design them) or the processes by which some come to be favored over others. Characteristics of the political system, such as national policy style, the organizational setting of the decisionmaker, and the problem situation are all likely to have some influence over the choice of instruments. The relative impact of these variables, however, is likely to be mediated by subjective factors linked to cognition. Perceptions of the proper ‘tool to do the job’ intervenes between context and choice in a complex way. Efforts to account for variation in instrument choice, then, must focus not only on macro level variables but on micro ones as well.
Article
As the focus of environmental policy and management is shifting from cleaner production at the process level towards greener products, there is a need for new kinds of policy instruments and initiatives. Environmental management systems (EMSs) and extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems are efforts to overcome the limitations of the traditional regulatory approach. In this paper, I illustrate how EMSs and EPR systems have influenced the emergence of greener products in three case companies. These case studies are complemented by results from a survey on design for the environment in the electrical and electronics industry. Both the case studies and the survey indicate that the linkage between EMSs and product development is weak or completely missing. Therefore, the mere existence of an EMS can hardly be used as a convincing indicator of the implementation of an environmentally friendly design process. The results regarding the EPR systems are more positive. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
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Although companies have been studied quite widely as political actors, the majority of this research has treated companies as a homogeneous group. This article inquires how Nokia, a multinational corporation, has anticipated legislation initiatives and how it has tried to influence policy development in interaction with industry associations and EU institutions. Copyright (c) 2008 The Author(s). Journal compilation (c) 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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