Miljöforskning i statens och industrins tjänst: Institutet för Vatten och Luftvårdsfrågor (IVL) 1960-tal till 1980-tal
2011 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
In 1963, two industrialists visited the government office for a meeting with the minister of finance. Their purpose was to present an outline of a new research institute focusing on industrial air- and water pollution problems. Their proposal was based on a joint financed institute, were the government and industry contributed to equal shares. Additionally, they proposed a formation of a business company closely tied to the institute and with the purpose to provide services to industry on environmental issues. Thus, in 1966, the Institute of Water and Air Protection (IVL) was established and became the first institute in Sweden focusing on industrial environmental problems. At the same time the business company, IVL AB, was formed. Due to the collaborative form of organisation – including representation of all core industries and the environmental authorities – the IVL organisation came to be unique also from an international perspective. In this paper we explore the driving forces behind the formation of IVL and IVLAB and their contribution to/function in the environmental adaptation of the Swedish industry from the 1960s to the 80s. We specifically focus on the direction of research activities since this should be particularly informative in terms of contribution and function. Moreover, we believe it reflects what the government and industry jointly defined as priority areas of concern. We find that IVL came to constitute an important basis for knowledge generation and diffusion within the Swedish environmental system, foremost during the 1960s and the 1970s. IVL contributed to the environmental adaptation of the Swedish industry essentially through applied research on the environmental effects of emissions. However, also technical measures to combat pollution problems became important. The assignments of the business company, IVLAB, were mostly focused on mapping the emissions from industrial plants, i.e. identifying discharges and their effects in the recipients. Here, the development works of IVL on the standardisation of methods of analysis and measurement instruments constituted important prerequisites. The knowledge mobilized within IVL and IVLAB on industrial air- and water pollution matters also became important to the environmental authorities in their decision making process. Generated information concerning levels and effects of discharges formed in turn an important basis in the formulating of individual emission permits for single plants. The procedure of individual permits was in turn regulated by the Environmental Protection Act, implemented in 1969). An adequate knowledge basis can in this regard be seen as a guarantee for the prioritizing of intervention-efforts where needs were greatest. Besides knowledge on the pollution problems related to the manufacturing industry, IVL obtained a role as national, and to a certain degree, international expert organisation with general competence in the environmental field. IVL competence on effects of oil spill and mercury was for example wanted outside the country. IVL services were further demanded by international organisations, such as WHO and UNESCO in the 1970s. The role and the form of IVL and IVLAB, however, came to change in the beginning of the 1980s. Now IVLAB was sold to the competing company ÅF and the research institute IVL was converted from a foundation into a company. We believe that the organizational changes reflected changing needs of industry (and of society at large) what concerns the functions of IVL and IVLAB. Much of the rough mapping- and clean-up work had been done at this time and the previous services of IVL and IVLAB had become routine work, increasingly handled by the companies themselves. And had the general "social climate" changed so that it was no longer as natural to cooperate on environmental issues?
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för ekonomisk historia , 2011. , 21 p.
Umeå papers in economic history, ISSN 1653-7378 ; 40
Research subject History of Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-25613Local ID: febc4230-a92f-4969-8c7e-b5b7f4978e81OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-25613DiVA: diva2:998666
Godkänd; 2011; 20110110 (krisod)2016-09-292016-09-29Bibliographically approved