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The novel dimension of this proposal is the use of the term passport and the governmental involvement in a global, centralized database for products. The concept of the passport is interesting, however one is also reminded that passports are used to control and prohibit movement. Is that the intention here? My reservations about this proposal have to do with the high level of centralization it proposes at a time when highly centralized systems appear to be increasingly vulnerable. One wonders whether this is the right approach. A second question is how to compare the different types of information provided by the passport. I also wonder why this approach will not fall prey to the problems that have plagued certification systems as well as the ineffectiveness of the international standards which do exist. On that note I am wondering why the author has not included references to existing international standards (e.g. the ISO system.) A more in depth analysis of the relations between producers and consumers as they innovate towards sustainable consumption would be useful. Furthermore, the claims for the proposal are very broad; perhaps a more targeted set of projected impacts would be more credible, particularly given the history of limited effectiveness of certification programs. I do suggest that the author read more broadly in the literature in certification and labeling schemes.
Questions to address:
How would the passport be used, and by whom, in everyday life? Why would individuals care to go to the website and access that information? Who would pay/sponsor this elaborate project? Who are the “stakeholders” and what would their motivations be to participate? These are only some of the questions that come to mind. In short, the author is clearly thinking along the lines of how information about environmental impacts can help reduce consumption, but this proposal is far from fully developed.
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