Globalisation of markets and products: a challenge for environmental policy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During the past decade, production of products has increasingly been relocated to countries outside the western industrialised area, while consumption of the same products in the west has increased to a considerable extent. Implementation of national policies for limiting the environmental and health impacts of production has encountered a number of difficulties as a result. Policy instruments, normally used with positive effects nationally, have become more or less ineffective or irrelevant as production and consumption become increasingly geographically separated. Some environmental problems related to production practices have been relocated to other countries, while the import of such products involves new environmental and health impacts during the consumption phase. In integrated product policy, which includes the phases of design, production, distribution, consumption and waste management, the possibility of using policy instruments to address actors during the design, production and distribution phases are highly affected by globalisation. For example, when production remains domestic, national legislation is effective in limiting the use of chemicals in production processes via control mechanisms such as inspections and economic sanctions. When production is outsourced, this option is reduced. Information instruments for consumers, e.g. labelling, are also difficult to apply when materials and chemicals used during production cannot be monitored. The globalisation of production and consumption is a challenge for environmental policy as regards defining policy instruments with international validity.

This project uses three Swedish case studies of policy instruments to examine the integrated product chain for batteries, clothing and meat and to analyse globalisation of markets and policy instruments. The empirical materials employed included legislation, propositions, protocols and other written documents, and interviews with officials in ministries, authorities and production and distribution organisations.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • integrated product policy, policy instruments, production, consumption, batteries, clothing, sociology, meat, sociologi
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-487
JournalInternational Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

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