The Environment Strategy for Scotland: Reducing Scotland's International Environmental Impact - Learning from International Best Practices

This report supports the research project ‘Delivering the Environment Strategy Outcome on Scotland’s Global Footprint: Evidence Base and Policy Levers’. It summarises examples of international best practice in relation to policy levers for achieving a sustainable global footprint.


1 There are numerous definitions of a ‘wicked problem’. In this report we use: “A wicked problem is a problem, usually social or cultural, that is challenging or impossible to solve either because not enough is understood about the problem, the number of stakeholders involved, the number of varying opinions, the economic burden, or the impact of these problems with other problems”

2 In comparison, EU due diligence proposals committed to covering cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soya and wood (including all products derived from or fed using these commodities) and cover all businesses making these commodities or products available on or exporting from the EU market, with reduced obligations for small- and medium- sized enterprises (European Commission, 2021).

3 The terms CO2 and carbon are used synonymously.

4 Another subtle concern is government legitimacy. For instance, to what degree are policymakers willing to risk stakeholder confidence and popular support(Jagers and Hammar, 2009).

5 Though the CO2 tax has been Sweden’s instrument of choice, they have used other emissions instruments like stringent building regulations and green car rebates (SEPA, 2017). Additionally, Åkerfeldt and Hammar (2015) assert that when trying to shift stakeholders away from fossil fuels, it is important to have other options readily available.

6 The closest to a meat tax that appears to have been implemented was a tax on foods high in saturated fat imposed in Denmark in 2011, which was removed after only a year due to pressure from industry and concerns about impacts to the domestic market from people buying products abroad (Pinto, 2021).

7 These case studies are drawn from the recent draft report Review of selected ‘problem products’ in the circular economy by Hague et al. (2023), in the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (project JHI-C4-1).

8 For further information see European Commission information on organic status at; European Commission, 2018.



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