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Preventing environmental effects of products through producer responsibility

This project studies producers’ and importers’ responsibility for hazardous environmental effects of products during use and as waste.

Illustration: Colourbox.com

About the project

The project will look into various aspects of producers and importers responsibility to prevent negative environmental effects of products, such as duty to know their products characteristics and possible environmental effects, duty to inform about this, and not least obligations in relation to the disposal of the product as waste, including 'take back- obligations'.

It will study the general responsibilities of producers and importers in Norwegian and international law, independently or in addition to the special rules for certain groups of products.

The main element of the project will be a PhD thesis on one or a few selected topics within the broad field of producer responsibility. Topics related to the transnational problems and relations between national law and international law, will have a priority. The issue is highly international and the project will link up with the international research in the field, through regular and close cooperation with the four international partners and other experts, and active participation in international events.

Objective

The primary objective is to get new insight and build general academic competence in the increasingly important field of producers’ and importers’ responsibility for the environmental effects of their products, when in use and disposed of as waste. Product regulation and other incentives to improve environmental efficiency of products is an important element in Norway's environmental policy and law. However, there has until now been little research in this field in Norway.

The project aims to describe, clarify and analyze national and international rules in this regard, and the interface between them. It also intends to identify problems and weaknesses in the legal regime as a basis for improvements. The topic raises transnational legal issues and illustrates the globalization of law. The project will link national research to the important research activities in the field of international environmental and trade law.

Background

Environmental problems created by the use and waste disposal of products have been high on the international and national agenda over the last couple of decades. Product-related environmental regulation today represents a wide, dynamic and increasingly diverse and complex legal field at the national as well as the international level. It is essential for national environmental authorities to have knowledge and competence in this area of environmental law.

Many countries have introduced a broad range of instruments to this effect: prohibition of the most hazardous products, detailed regulation on the use of the product combined with mandatory information about the product, labeling requirements, taxes on products as an incentive to reduce the consumption of the product, as well as a broad set of rules and economic instruments to reduce the amount of waste and the negative environmental effects of waste disposal.

There are also instruments to encourage consumption of ‘environmentally friendly’ product alternatives, such as different types of ‘eco-labeling’ and other incentives to promote consumption and daily life behaviour with less negative environmental effects.

Sub-projects

Research fellow Eléonore Maitre, Department of Public and International Law: Preventing environmental effects of products: A life cycle and market-oriented approach in European environmental Law.

Research assistant Charlotte Nordbakken: Rett i søpla : Rettslig analyse av en returordning for elektrisk og elektronisk avfall basert på prinsippet om utvidet produsentansvar (2013). MarIus 436/2014.

Financing

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, through its programme Miljø 2015.

Cooperation

International partners in the project are researchers at:

  • Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels, Belgium
  • International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economic, Lunds University, Sweden
  • Faculty of Law, Universität Bremen, Germany
  • Facylty of Law, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands.
 
Tags: Enviromental Law and Economics, Trade and finance, waste, products
Published June 25, 2012 3:36 PM - Last modified Sep. 12, 2017 10:54 AM

Contact

Professor Endre Stavang, Department of Private Law