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Environmental Regulation in the Pulp and Paper Industry: Impacts and Challenges
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Unit of Economic History.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1087-9656
2019 (English)In: Current Forestry Reports, ISSN 2198-6436Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Purpose of Review In this article, we review existing research addressing how environmental regulations have influenced the pulp and paper industry. These regulations appear in different forms and designs and address air and water pollution as well as climate change. The paper devotes particular attention to how various regulations have affected sustainable technological change and the prospects for inducing deep emission reductions without jeopardizing industrial competitiveness and future investments.

Recent Findings Experiences from key pulp and paper regions, not least the Nordic countries, suggest that gradually tightening performance standards have contributed to radical reductions in emissions, e.g., chlorine compounds and biological oxygen demanding agents, and without imposing excessive compliance costs. This outcome can largely be attributed to how the regulations have been designed—and implemented—in practice, as well as to the presence of efficient and legitimate institutions. Long-termemission reduction targets, in combination with extended compliance periods and trustful firm-regulator relationships, contributed to radical technological innovation and permitted radical emission reductions without excessive compliance costs. The development of alternative bleaching technologies is an apt example. In contrast, the impact of carbon pricing schemes, including the EU emissions trading scheme, on carbon dioxide emissions reductions and related technological change in the pulp and paper industry has however been modest. Self-regulation, certification, and community pressure have exerted relatively modest influences on the environmental performance of the industry.

Summary Important avenues for future research are identified. These include the following: (a) comparative research on how policy mixes in various countries have influenced environmental compliance and innovation; processes; (b) future studies of environmental regulations, their design and implementation, in emerging pulp and paper producing countries, not least China; and (c) research on how environmental regulations can affect ongoing restructurings in the industry towards a broader palette of products in biorefineries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Environmental regulation, Pulp and paper industry, Competitiveness, Innovation, Pollution, Climate change
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-164829DOI: 10.1007/s40725-019-00097-0ISI: 000493764700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-164829DiVA, id: diva2:1367355
Funder
Swedish Energy AgencyAvailable from: 2019-11-03 Created: 2019-11-03 Last updated: 2019-11-26

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