Industrial Innovation and Environmental Regulation: Developing Workable Solutions

By Saeed Parto; Brent Herbert-Copley | Go to book overview

2
Environmental regulation and
industrial competitiveness in
pollution-intensive industries

Jonathan R. Barton, Rhys Jenkins, Anthony Bartzokas, Jan Hesselberg and Hege M. Knutsen

The adoption of new technologies at the firm level is a result of many different factors. When it comes to addressing pollution problems, the development of environmentally conscious technologies takes place in both production processes and products. Given the diversity of industries in terms of production processes, products and hence pollution sources, the incentives structure and other considerations at the firm level are difficult to generalize. In this paper, we suggest that a better understanding of technological trends at the sectoral level is a necessary precondition for better understanding of the impact of environmental regulation on technological change.1

This paper synthesizes the research findings of in-depth studies of three pollution-intensive industries: iron and steel, leather tanning and fertilizers. Each of the three studies was based on fieldwork carried out in a number of European countries and in several industrializing and transition economies where it was anticipated that environmental regulation would be much less stringent than within the EU. Both in Europe and outside Europe, interviews were carried out with environmental and/or plant managers in a number of firms and with national and European trade associations, technical experts and regulators. In each industry, the aim was to understand the environmental problems of the industry, the impact of regulation and the evolving competitive position of the sector. This involved establishing where the critical environmental pressures were within each industry and understanding the corporate strategies that have been adopted. The rationale for choosing the iron and

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