BERmon21 Evaluation of environmental policy instruments
A case study of the Finnish pulp & paper and chemical industries
Mikael Hildén, Jukka Lepola, Per Mickwitz, Aard Mulders, Marika Palosaari, Jukka Similä, Stefan Sjöblom and Evert Vedung, 2002.
Monographs of the Boreal Environment Research No. 21, p. 134.
URN:ISBN:952111147X, ISBN 952-11-1147-X (pdf). The publication is available also in printed form (ISBN 952-11-1146-1).
This research-based evaluation of environmental policy Instruments in Finland is focussed on regulatory instruments based on the Water Act, the Air Pollution Control Act and the Chemicals Act, on electricity taxation and on voluntary environmental management systems. The examined policy instruments have had several positive effects. They have directed major industrial point source polluters towards solving environmental problems. The transparency has been an important factor ensuring the success of the policy instruments and in avoiding the regulatory capture that could have thrived in a system largely based on negotiations between operators and authorities. The transparency has made it easy for Finnish firms to adopt environmental management systems and an open attitude to environmental reporting. The permit conditions have not directly resulted in innovations, but they have contributed to the diffusion of end-of-pipe technology and have contributed to innovations by expanding the market for environmentally better technical solutions. The permit systems have also indirectly contributed to innovations by creating a demand for environmental experts and environmental education.
Networks have clearly developed as a consequence of and in response to regulatory instruments. These networks appear to have had their greatest significance prior to the permit procedures. The trend has been towards a greater emphasis of the communication in the networks prior to the presentation of an application in order to ensure a smoothly functioning permit process. In the networks contributing to innovations and the diffusion of innovations authorities have largely been outsiders, except when an innovation has become a de facto standard for permit conditions.
The different kind of effects, the complexity of consequences and the uncertainties with respect to causes and effects mean that studies aiming at evaluating the overall worth and merit of an environmental policy instrument should never be structured from a single point of view using only one method. Multiple criteria should be used. The drawback of the multiple approach principle in evaluation is that the evaluations will run into data problems and all the difficulties of multi- and transdisciplinary research, but the multidisciplinarity is a necessary condition for developing an informed view of the functioning and effects of environmental policy instruments.
This publication is the result of a project financed by the environmental cluster research programme.
Mikael Hildén, Finnish Environment Institute, tel +3589 403 000, firstname.lastname@example.org [mikael hilden]
Per Mickwitz, Finnish Environment Institute, tel +3589 403 000, email@example.com [per mickwitz]
Jukka Similä, Finnish Environment Institute, tel +3589 403 000, firstname.lastname@example.org [jukka simila]