University of Limerick
Heidenstrøm_and_Strandbakken_2021_Positioning product longevity (1).pdf (143.2 kB)

Positioning product longevity in Norwegian environmental policy

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conference contribution
posted on 2021-06-16, 14:14 authored by Nina Heidenstrøm, Pål Strandbakken
With an increasing interest in the circular economy, current environmental policies in Europe aim to prepare economies for a ‘green’ transition. Contrary to circularity, however, product longevity has yet to become a policy buzzword. To date, circularity has largely been operationalised as waste management, and circular strategies tend to neglect the everyday use of products. In this paper, we explore how product longevity has been positioned in Norwegian environmental policy over the past 20 years. By doing so, we aim to understand why product longevity seems to fall behind compared to concepts such as circularity, recycling, dematerialisation, and efficiency, and what we can do to change it. The data material consists of three sets of document analyses: 1) party programmes from six political parties in Norway 2000-2020, 2) Official documents from the Parliament and the Government 2000- 2020, and 3) newspaper articles 2000-2020. A thematic analysis was used to study the timeframe, contexts and policy instruments in which product longevity appears. Our findings show that the concept is hardly mentioned in Norwegian environmental policy or public debate. However, there is a significant increase from 2016-2017 in combination with circularity but only at a theoretical level while concrete policy instruments are still lacking. We also see a clear link between focus on product longevity and on consumers and consumption activities. In conclusion, we therefore argue that circular economy policies must be oriented to an everyday life perspective on consumption and consumers to develop effective instruments to increase product longevity.



4th PLATE 2021 Virtual Conference, 26-28 May 2021;



Other Funding information

Research Council of Norway



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