2003 volume 21(3) pages 371 – 388

Cite as:
van den Burg S W K, Mol A P J, Spaargaren G, 2003, "Consumer-oriented monitoring and environmental reform" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 21(3) 371 – 388

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Consumer-oriented monitoring and environmental reform

Sander W K van den Burg, Arthur P J Mol, Gert Spaargaren

Received 22 February 2002; in revised form 6 January 2003

Abstract. The monitoring of environmental flows is usually considered an important first step in realising environmental reform of production and consumption. When citizen-consumers are involved, monitoring is frequently associated with surveillance and social control by the powerful (governmental and nongovernmental) providers of goods and services. The authors investigate the future perspectives for monitoring that empowers citizen-consumers. Post-Fordism, chain inversion, and liberalisation allow for consumer-oriented monitoring, which increases the countervailing power of end-users and strengthens the potentials of citizen-consumers to change the infrastructures of consumption. Several monitoring projects, for example eco-teams and Scorecard, are dealt with in some detail. It is concluded that consumer-oriented monitoring schemes do seem to be of considerable importance.

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