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Ecologically sound pulp production
Conrad, Jobst ;  Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik (FFU), Freie Universität Berlin

Main titleEcologically sound pulp production
Subtitlehow the Interaction of world market conditions, corporate capability and environmental policy determines success and failure of environmental innovations
AuthorConrad, Jobst
InstitutionForschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik (FFU), Freie Universität Berlin
No. of PagesIV, 72 S.
FFU-report ; [20]00-05
Classification (DDC)320 Political science
330 Economics
AbstractThe case studies investigate political bargaining as well as innovation processes
around efforts to reduce environmental pollution in pulp production. The development
and diffusion of corresponding environmental technologies depend on their technical
viability, their economic viability, the (global) socioeconomic structures of the pulp and
paper industry, environmental policy regulations, and situational circumstances,
reflecting the interests and relative power of actors involved. Taking into account a time
period of nearly 30 years (1970 - 2000) various innovative efforts are summarized.
These environmental innovations are examples of different approaches and foci to deal
with environmental problems of pulp production by appropriate technologies, namely
wastewater purification by aluminium oxide or by combined aerobic and anaerobic
biological treatment, substitution of molecular chlorine bleaching by peroxide bleaching
or by high pressure oxygen bleaching, and alternative pulping technologies, i.e. the
ASAM process and the Organocell process. Because structural framework conditions,
particularly the availability of public funds, left considerable scope of action, situational
conditions often paved the way for starting an environmental R&D project and for its
success or failure.
In the 1970s the (perceived) pressure of environmental problems was so strong that
environmental regulation of pulp production was considered necessary. Because of
fierce competition on the world market, however, the pulp industry could hardly afford
on a short-term basis the investments required for environmental protection measures
without public subsidies. Therefore, ETP contributed significant funding to allow for the
development of a considerable number of technological options in the 1970s and
1980s. Most of them failed, however, for various reasons, but some of them succeeded
to become established practice since about the 1990s. EP and ETP played a key role
in achieving large reductions of ecologically hazardous substances emitted during pulp
production, by introducing a wastewater levy, by setting increasingly tighter
environmental (emission and ambient quality control) standards, and by funding the
development of corresponding environmental technologies. A good deal of coordination
of EP and ETP took place, which influenced both the standard setting process and
technology development.
Whereas EP activities met fierce opposition of the pulp and paper industry in the 1970s
and 1980s, involvement in related bargaining processes, in conjunction with an
increasing environmental concern and a corresponding greening of industry in general,
led to social learning processes of this industry which resulted in growing commitment
and a voluntary declaration in favour of ecologically sound pulp production in the
1990s. A campaign of Greenpeace attacking environmental problems of pulp and paper
production and public debate on chlorine-free paper probably enhanced this change in
attitude. However, the corresponding actual demand of publishers for chlorine-free
paper and clear environmental regulations were the main driving forces for improved
environmental protection and consciousness in pulp production.
Thus, different phases of development with varying attitudes and approaches of the
main actors towards environmental protection and technology development in pulp
production can be distinguished: environmental problem pressure and installation of
available (end-of-pipe) technologies (1970-1980), generous public funding of environmental
technology development and preparation of environmental regulation (1975-
1985), passing and enhancing environmental standards and diffusion of environmental
innovations (1980-1995), further progress and differentiation of environmental
regulation and environmental technologies applied (1990-2000). These changing
contextual conditions implied differing policy strategies and tactics of EP and ETP.
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FU DepartmentEnvironmental Policy Research Centre
Year of publication2000
Type of documentMaps
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