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Session Overview
Policy Session 12: Using standardised economic valuation of environmental stressors to support environmental policies, recent developments, opportunities, and risks
Wednesday, 03/July/2024:
4:15pm - 6:00pm

Location: Aula Jean Monnet (Streamed)

For information on room accessibility, click here

Organizers: Stefan Åström (Anthesis AB), Gildas Apperé (Université d’Angers), Ståle Navrud (Norwegian University of Life Sciences), Mike Holland (EMRC), Simone Schucht (INERIS) and Daniel Herrera (Université Paris Dauphine)

Session Abstract

In the EU and in several EU Member States, there are requirements for making socioeconomic impact assessments before public policy and investment proposals. In the EU these requirements are found in EU Regulation No. 1293/2013 and 1303/2013. However, it is still often the case that decisions are made without being informed by socioeconomic and health impact assessments.

The development of methods to economically value the impacts of environmental stressors has enabled increased consideration of well-being-related issues in environmental and other policies. The development has however branched out over different scientific disciplines, and there is now substantial variance in the economic metrics produced for later economic valuation of environmental stressors. Health metrics such as disability- adjusted life years (DALY), quality-adjusted life years (QALY), statistical life, life-years lost, specific health endpoints outcomes and subjective wellbeing are all metrics available to assess physical/psychological effects of environmental stressors. Health economists and public health policy makers tend to use economic valuation of QALYs and/or DALYs, while environmental and risk economists tend to use for environmental health policies the value of statistical life (VSL), value of life years lost (VOLY), or value of specific morbidity outcomes (infertility, diabetes, myocardial infarction, etc.). Some are highlighting the need to value the effects of policies on subjective wellbeing. The current situation for policy makers is rather confusing and the relationship between the different metrics is opaque, which likely leads to inconsistencies in public policies. Further, for some environmental stressors, there are already today several standardised models and tools available. These tools however often provide a low degree of freedom for the user to analyse different options, and also need to be more user friendly. Quite often, these standardised models are not used in policy impact assessments.

With the low uptake of models in impact assessments, the limited use of economic valuations of environmental stressors, as well as the disciplinary variations in which economic metrics are used for such valuations, there is a strong need for streamlining guidelines and methodologies across disciplines and purposes. The current situation is such that the medical profession or health institutions might decide to grant access to expensive medical treatments based on a high value of quality-adjusted-life-years, whilst mobility policies reducing pollution and noise might be rejected based on the value of affected numbers of life-years. These discrepancies put various countries and the European Union at risk of sub-optimally allocating public resources.

The EU-funded project VALESOR aims to make major contributions to the scientific and policy efforts to accommodate economic values of environmental stressors more homogenously in policy making, planning, and investments. The environmental stressors of concern for VALESOR are chemical stressors, such as chemicals and pollutants transmitted via environmental media (inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact vectors), and exposure through manufactured materials.

The proposed policy session will address and discuss data and methodological challenges related to the development and policy use of standardised tools for economic assessments of damages from environmental stressors. The presentations and discussions will use the results and objectives of the EU research programme VALESOR as basis. VALESOR started in January 2023 and is a three-year project. We will also invite researchers from the other research projects within the Meteor cluster for their perspectives.

We foresee that the policy session will start with a five-minute presentation of the VALESOR project, followed by four main topics for presentation and discussion and a session wrap-up. The session will be chaired by Stefan Åström. We foresee the use of panel discussions constituted of EAERE conference participants in our academic and policy network.


Stefan Åström, Anthesis AB

Ståle Navrud, Norwegian University of LifeSciences

Mike Holland, EMRC

Simone Schucht, INERIS

No contributions were assigned to this session.

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