Towards an Integrated Product Regulatory Framework Based on Life Cycle Thinking
The Greening of European Business under EU Law: Taking Article 11 TFEU Seriously, Beate Sjåfjell and Anja Wiesbrock (eds), Routledge (2015)
Posted: 12 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 11, 2014
Fragmentation of products’ regulatory framework in the European Union (EU) hinders environmental protection. Based on the principle of integration contained in Article 11 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), the Union put forward the need to adopt an approach encompassing the whole life cycle of a product in its EU Integrated Product Policy (IPP). An effective preservation of the environment against the harmful effects of products requires adopting such a comprehensive approach. The focus of this chapter is how an integrated or holistic approach may limit the inconsistencies arising from a fragmented EU product regulatory framework.
Article 11 TFEU has the potential of playing a key role in responding to the negative effects of fragmentation on environmental protection and, in this chapter, it is argued that it forms the basis of a more integrated approach for the EU product regulatory framework. This chapter begins with a general introduction of the principle of integration and evolution from its first appearance in the European Treaties. With regards to products, the need for more integration set out in Article 11 led to the development of the IPP, which embraced the thriving concept of Life-Cycle Thinking (LCT). The first section continues with an analysis of how the IPP and LCT may contribute to enhancing the coherence of the regulatory framework (section II). In the following section, three specific examples representing different life cycle stages – i.e. EU ecodesign, public procurement and waste law – are used to show the influence (or lack thereof) that the integration principle, with a specific focus on LCT, has had on the EU regulatory framework for products and its fragmentation (section III). A final section contains recommendations on how LCT could contribute to reducing the fragmentation of the regulatory framework, thereby limiting environmental damages caused by products (section IV).
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