Voluntary standards and standardization: A necessity or threat to the circular economy?

Stefan Christoffer Gottlieb, Nicolaj Frederiksen, Andreas de Gier, Julia Köhler, Karoline Fogh Gustafsson , Christian Thuesen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingReport chapterCommunication

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The Danish construction industry has historically relied on legislative measures to drive technological development and the uptake of new practices and methods. While legislation is a significant tool at the disposal of policymakers, policymaking is becoming increasingly polycentric, involving a range of participants, such as industry boards, NGOs, social movements, companies, and national as well as supranational organizations, that all exert influence on the functioning and trajectory of the industry. This development is tied into the decentralization and devolution wave that has spread across societal sectors over the last three or four decades, leading to profound changes in the governance of most industries, with critical implications for their coherence and functioning (Gottlieb and Frederiksen, 2020). Consequently, policymakers have begun to rely on hybrid approaches to regulation, where traditional ‘hard law’ and legally binding instruments constitute only one measure among several in a policy mix of instruments. In addition to hard legislative measures, ‘soft law’ — such as recommendations, industry-developed guidelines, codes of practice, and rules of conduct — is increasingly used as a basis for regulatory efforts. In particular, standards, in the form of norms and voluntary agreements, play a prominent role in policymakers’ efforts to govern industry development and direct companies toward a particular political agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding A Circular Future - Insights from Interdisciplinary Reseach
Number of pages3
Publication date2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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