In the current context of economic and environmental crisis and the related complexity and uncertainties, what deciders seem to expect are i.a. robust factual evidence about the effectiveness of their policies. This call for evidence finds an answer through Impact Assessment (IA): Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), etc.; and more lately sustainable or integrated IA. The European Commission Impact Assessment (EC-IA) procedure is said to be one of the most institutionalised and successful of the new IA’s generation. This internal ex-ante integrated evaluation applies on almost all Commission initiatives and is meant to address “all” significant economic, social and environmental impacts of these proposals. If IA’s have widely been studied as evidence-based tools aiming at rationalizing decision-making contributing to the ‘Better Regulation’ objectives, some authors have highlighted their limits as decision-support tools feeding ‘directly’ scientific knowledge into the decisions, while stressing the political effects (intended or not) of these meta-instruments. Following such an effort to step back from a linear approach of decision-making, we question the political effects of the EC-IA through a cognitive approach (Muller, 2005; Radaelli and Schmidt, 2004) wondering whether EC-IA, as meta-instrument, contributes to diffuse a specific conception of “the environment” within European policy- making? Indeed, the evidence-gathering process framed through EC-IA requirements might have an impact on policy-making through this very process of “definition” of what are significant environmental impacts, not least because of the required quantification of the analysed impacts (as called for in the EC-IA guidelines). Within the scope of this paper, we will present the results of the literature review feeding into the on-going elaboration of our theoretical and methodological framework.