The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Relationships Between Environmentally Sound Technologies and Competitiveness of Companies in the Value Chain of Printed Paper from Forest to Market

Sanna Perkiö

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 12th of January, 2007, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-8491-7)   [1580 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-22-8490-0)


Technologies play a well-known role in creating competitive advantages for companies as well as in controlling environmental impacts. This study deals with the relationship between environmentally sound technologies and the competitiveness of companies in the value chain of printed paper from forest to market. These connections are important to understand, because the technology is an important solution in facing environmental requirements. This study answers the following five questions: Which environmentally sound technologies are the most important for environmental impacts in the value chain of printed paper? How do they impact on the competitiveness of companies? How do these technologies differ across the value chain? Do they impact on competitiveness of companies in the other part of the value chain? The fifth research question involves studying differences between function mechanisms of pollution-prevention technology and pollution-abatement technology in facing legal requirements. This is studied as a part of the so-called 'Porter Hypothesis'. A term, environmental value creation, has been defined as 'performing activities by managing environmental aspects so that the value of goods and services to consumers or to customers increases.' Data was collected from the value chain of printed paper and were divided into the following parts: forest harvesting, pulp mill, paper mill and printing house. Eight experts were interviewed resulting in 69 environmentally sound technologies during the time periods 1980-1999 and 2000-2019. The data was analysed by non-parametrical statistical tests.

As a result of this study, automation, measurement and information technologies, closing-up technologies and energy technologies were found to be the most important for environmental impacts and frequently mentioned responses of environmentally sound technologies in the value chain of printed paper. The cost factors of raw material and staff and differentiation factors of company image and product image were the most indicative of increasing competitiveness of companies among environmentally sound technologies. Of the cost factors investigated, capital invested in technologies reduced the competitiveness of companies the most. The function mechanism of pollution-prevention technologies will replace pollution-abatement technologies in time period 2000-2019. Competitiveness impacts were not found to have a relationship with having or not having legal incentive among environmentally sound technologies, but significantly competitiveness-decreasing technologies have been found to be more frequently legal incentives impacted on than the other investigated technologies. The use of raw materials and natural resources of environmental aspects is intensively focused by the environmentally sound technologies along the value chain and this progress will strengthen in the technologies of the time period 2000-2019. When the differences among the parts of value chain of printed paper were studied, it was found that the environmentally sound technologies increase competitiveness of companies mostly in printing houses and decrease it mostly in pulp mills. Half of the investigated technologies have an effect on competitiveness of companies in the other part of the value chain, too.

As a result of this study, a part of Porter Hypothesis concerning the positive role of the pollution prevention in fulfilling environmental requirements is accepted only when the competitiveness of companies is measured by the factor of staff, but rejected by the factors of raw material, energy, capital, other costs, product characteristics, product image, company image and other differentiation factors. It concludes in saying that pollution-prevention technologies are not the one and only key for competitive advantage in companies; pollution-abatement technologies can also increase competitiveness of companies. For the regulative point of view this means that there is no need to tailor the environmental regulation for pollution prevention approaches. Environmental regulation should focus on controlling of environmental impacts, not on ideas of win-win situations of pollution prevention, which might not be capitalised ever.

Keywords: environmental technology, competitiveness of company, Porter Hypothesis, environmental value creation

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© 2007 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26