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What drives Environmental Innovations in the Nordic Pulp and Paper Industry?

Green Markets and Cleaner Technologies (GMCT)

image of What drives Environmental Innovations in the Nordic Pulp and Paper Industry?

Policy initiatives have highlighted the importance of environmental innovations as a solution to environmental problems, and looked into ways to promote them. Based on empirical cases in the Nordic pulp and paper industry, this report explores environmentally sounder technological innovations and their relation to societal and economic drivers. The cases studied include the use of production by-products for energy, new products in the core business areas and new product value chains. The report shows that public policy has directly influenced environmental innovation in the P&P industry through providing public R&D support, funding development projects and encouraging cooperation. It has also facilitated the crucial stage of demonstration by creating or enforcing markets for environmental innovations. The success of policy-created markets in supporting innovation is, however, crucially dependent on other market changes that push the development towards improved environmental performance. Environmental policies alone are seldom sufficient drivers for innovations.

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Cases of environmental innovation in the Nordic pulp and paper industry – methods, results and synthesis

Based on a literature review of past innovation studies in the Nordic pulp and paper industry (see Chapter 2), the focus of the study was defined. Significant advances had already been made regarding traditional air and water emissions in the 1980s and 1990s, often encouraged by regulation (Ashford, 2005; Hildén et al., 2002; Gunningham et al., 2003). The focus of this study is on more recent developments and primarily on innovations/inventions improving resource effciency and reducing the use of fossil fuels. Technological innovations however, may also simultaneously have other environmental benefits, such as reduced chemicals use. Improvements in resources efficiency and reductions in fossil fuel-based energy are important from the point of view of global energy and climate change issues. The increasing price of electricity creates pressure for more energy-efficient processes, while the itensifying competition for wood resources with bioenergy production further highlights resourece efficiency in production processes and products. The efficiency improvements also benefit the environment.

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