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Ecological, social and economical aspects of integrated product policy: development of two instruments

Research project CP/20 (Research action CP)

Persons :

Description :


Integrated product policy is one of the ways of setting about achieving sustainable consumption and production patterns. Genuine integrated product policy means that account is taken of ecological, social and economic considerations throughout the product’s entire life cycle. After all, sustainable development is the framework for genuine integrated product policy. At present, an integrated product policy oriented towards sustainable consumption and product patterns is too often approached from an environmental viewpoint. Attention to the social conditions in which a product is manufactured is occasionally required. Other approaches again focus on a justified price breakdown for products brought on the market, etc. However, the full story is seldom told.

Project description


This research proposal is thus also aimed at developing two instruments for an integrated product policy based on ecological, social and economic considerations:

- The development of a set of key indicators for 1) sustainable consumption and production patterns, 2) integrated product policy and 3) integrated product policy, partim the environmental aspects;
- Development of a voluntary policy instrument, i.e. the ‘sustainable development’ label: a proposed (written up) legal basis for ‘the allocation of a ‘sustainable development’ label to products’ (with attention paid to content and procedure), plus implementation and testing in one case (coffee).

The project proposal aims to integrate the ecological, social and economic dimensions in concepts, methodologies and voluntary instruments. Attention will be paid to the section of the life cycle, which occurs in developing countries during the working out of the case studie.


Sustainable development label
- Development of criteria, evaluation systems and integration methods.
- Development of procedures for investigation, testing, evaluation and monitoring.
- Testing of the developed criteria, methods and procedures on 2 cases.
- Development of a legal basis for the allocation of the ‘sustainable development’ label for products.
- Value enhancement.
Meetings of a brainstorming committee will accompany each phase of this part of the project, where the members of the Committee of users will be invited in the first place.

The development of a set of key indicators

- Investigation of proposed international and European key indicators.
- Investigation of usability within the DPSIR framework and for the suitability analysis.
- Examination of the employability for effectiveness analysis.
- Proposal of a model list of key indicators with feedback.
- Value enhancement.

Interactions between the different partners

Label of 'Sustainable Development'
- The development of the contents and the procedure, valorisation.
Centre for Sustainable Development - University of Ghent and Ethibel vzw.
The Centre for Environmental Law will read and correct the proposal of law.
- The application to case: coffee.
Centre for Sustainable Development - University of Ghent and Ethibel vzw.
ESPOL (Guayaquil - Ecuador) will be engaged to work out the coffee case.

Key indicators
The Centre for Sustainable Development - University of Ghent will entirely accomplish this task. The brainstorming committee ( incl. ESPOL, Ecuador) and Ethibel vzw. will function as the reading committee of the reports before publishing.

Expected results and/or products

Key indicators
- A set of key indicators for

1. Sustainable consumption and production patterns,
2. Integrated product policy,
3. Integrated product policy, partim the environmental aspects.
The three sets of key indicators with a methodological file per indicator will be published in a brochure.

- The calculation of a set of key indicators which can be offered for the Federal Report concerning Sustainable Development.

- Preparation of a suitability analysis for the Federal Services for the Environment and for the European Commission Environment DG dealing with the environmental aspects of integrated product policy.

- Preparation of a suitability analysis for integrated product policy for the Federal Government’s ‘sustainable development’ programme department and for the European Commission.

- Workshop (optional).

Sustainable development label
- An English-language publication to make the results known at international level.
- A workshop where the instrument would be presented to corporate representatives and stakeholders.
- A special workshop concerning the policy and legal aspects for policy makers (political representatives and the appropriate civil servants).
- A legally-based (written-up) proposal for "the allocation of the ‘sustainable development’ label to products" with account taken of content and procedure on behalf of the Federal Government’s sustainable development programme department and the European Commission.



The aim of the Centre for Sustainable Development (CDO) is to use an interdisciplinary methodology for the elaboration on the sustainable development as a social framework. It concentrates on research concerning rational decision-making and the efficiency of policy instruments, in function of long-term policies, in an integrated perspective with a focus on participation and communication.

ETHIBEL is an independent research organisation. Its main purpose is the screening of companies on social, environmental and economical criteria for socially responsible investment funds. ETHIBEL has its own European quality label. The criteria for the ETHIBEL label cover all aspects of social corporate responsibility. ETHIBEL also takes part in various scientific researches concerning corporate social responsibility.


Prof. Bernard Mazijn - Universiteit Gent
Poel 16, B-9000 Gent
tel: + 32 (0)9 264 82 07
fax: + 32 (0)9 264 83 90

Prof. Ruddi Doom
Centrum voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling -Universiteit Gent
Universiteitsstraat 8, B-9000 Gent
tel: + 32 (0)9 264 69 15

Herwig Peeters
Ethibel vzw.
Vooruitgangstraat 333 b7, 1030 Brussel
tel: + 32 (0)2 206 11 11 (secretariaat/ algemeen nummer);
fax: + 32 (0)2 206 11 10

Users Committee

- Relinde Baeten - Vereniging voor Ecologische Leef- en Teeltwijze (VELT) - Berchem
- Esmeralda Borgo - Bond Beter Leefmilieu Vlaanderen vzw - Brussel
- Claire Bosch - Federatie Voedingsindustrie - Brussel
- Chris Claes - Vredeseilanden-Coopibo vzw - Leuven
- Wim Claes - Verbond van Koffiebranders - Brussel
- Annick Clauwaert - Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond - Brussel
- Carole Crabbe - Schone Kleren Campagne - Brussel
- Frieda De Coninck - Schone Kleren Campagne - Bruxelles
- Stefaan De Henauw - Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Vakgroep Maatschappelijke gezondheidszorg - Gent
- Johan Declercq - Max Havelaar België - Brussel
- Lode Delbare - Vredeseilanden-COOPIBO - Equador
- Annemie Demedts - OXFAM - Wereldwinkels Verdeelcentrum - Gent
- Tinneke Dirckx - Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Vakgroep Tropische Landbouw - Gent
- Jorge Duque-Rivera - Escuela Superior del Politécnica - Litoral
- Guy Hendriks - DG Internationale samenwerking - Brussel
- Stefanie Hugelier - Federale Raad voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling (FRDO) - Brussel
- Luc Lavrysen - Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Centrum voor Milieurecht - Gent
- Pascal l'Eglise - Carrefour - Bruxelles
- Peter Loncke - Openbare Afvalstoffenmaatschappij voor het Vlaamse Gewest (OVAM) - Mechelen
- Ariane Louwage - Openbare Afvalstoffenmaatschappij voor het Vlaamse Gewest (OVAM) - Mechelen
- Ann Nachtergaele - Federatie Voedingsindustrie - Brussel
- Michèle Pans - Centrale Raad voor het Bedrijfsleven - Brussel
- Samuel Poos - Centre Fair Trade - Brussel
- Dirk Sjongers - Biologische Landbouwer - Aartselaar
- Nadia Tahon - Vereniging voor Ecologische Leef- en Teeltwijze (VELT) - Berchem
- Patrick Van Damme - Universiteit Gent (UGent) - Vakgroep Tropische Landbouw - Gent
- Paul Van Cappellen - Onderzoeks- en Informatiecentrum van de VerbruikersOrganisatie (CRIOC-OIVO) - Brussel
- Marleen Van den Brande - FOD Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de Voedselketen en Leefmilieu - Federale Diensten voor het Leefmilieu - Dienst Productbeleid - Brussel
- Angeline Van Den Rijse - Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond - Brussel
- Bart Van Netelbosch - Algemeen Christelijk Vakverbond van België - Brussel
- Tony Vandeputte - Verbond van Belgische Ondernemingen - Brussel
- Erika Vander Putten - Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij (VMM) - Afdeling Meetnetten en Onderzoek - DVP Milieurapportering - Mechelen
- Dieter Vanderbeke - FOD Sociale Zekerheid en Openbare instellingen van sociale zekerheid - Werkgroep "Social labeling" - Cel Sociale Economie - Brussel
- Lien Vanwalle - Universiteit Gent UGent) - Centrum voor Milieurecht - Gent
- Eric Vermeylen - Vlaams Economisch Verbond - Antwerpen
- Anne-France Woestyn - SPF Santé publique, Sécurité de la Chaîne alimentaire et Environnement - Services fédéraux pour les Affaires environnementales - Service politique des produits - Bruxelles
- Peter Wollaert - Kauri - Anderlecht
- Jacques Zegers - Belgische Vereniging van Banken - Brussel

Documentation :

Ecological, social and economical aspects of integrated product policy : final report  Mazijn, Bernard - Doom, Ruddi - Peeters, Herwig ... et al  Brussels : Federale Science Policy, 2004 (SP1380)
[To download]  [Exhausted] 

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