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Stimulating the diffusion of environmental technologies through export
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Contemporary environmental problems represent complex societal challenges, and as these problems become increasingly global, the international diffusion of environmental technologies is essential. One way to diffuse technologies internationally is through export. Despite the potential benefits from the adoption of environmental technologies, their export is stifled by externalities and free-rider problems.

From this background, the aim of this thesis is to analyse how to stimulate the diffusion of environmental technologies through export. This aim is operationalised using four research questions, which focus on governmental initiatives to promote environmental technology export and their perceived effectiveness among targeted firms, obstacles to and drivers for export among municipally owned companies, the use of international city networks to facilitate environmental technology export and components of business concepts for environmental technology export. These questions are explored in the Swedish context using document analyses, interviews and internet surveys in a compilation thesis which consists of a cover essay and an appendix of five scientifically peer-reviewed and published journal articles.

The conclusions are that governmental export promotion initiatives are often generic for all kinds of exporters, including environmental technologies, and comprise financial support, information provision, education and training, and trade and mobility-related programs, often with little incorporation of the specific characteristics of environmental technologies which many exporters perceive as ineffective. Municipally owned companies experience different barriers to and drivers for engaging in international activities compared to privately owned companies, and are often involved in international projects which are not always commercial export. International city networks serve as important arenas for bi-directional information sharing and learning regarding market characteristics, environmental challenges and potential solutions, building legitimacy for technologies and their suppliers. Regarding components of business concepts for the export of environmental technologies, regulation, legitimacy and private-public partnership are identified as particularly important based on the complexity and systemic nature of environmental technologies.

Altogether, this thesis makes a contribution by conceptualising the export of environmental technologies with emphasis on technology characteristics, the technology supplier including their business concepts, obstacles to and drivers for export, technology adopters and their characterisation, communication channels and the diffusion context. For policy makers, a dynamic approach to environmental technology export promotion, in which specific attributes of environmental technologies and their suppliers are considered along their international business development, is suggested as a complement to existing generic initiatives. The possibility to provide such support should be reconciled with resource effectiveness, heterogeneity among companies and the complementary role of governmental interventions to market initiatives. Finally, partnerships between publicly and privately owned companies are suggested as particularly relevant since they build on the long-term experience, functioning proof-of-concept and legitimacy of publicly owned companies together with the competitiveness and flexibility of privately owned companies. These attributes could help overcome the liabilities of foreignness and newness, as well as resource constraints which challenge environmental technology export.

Abstract [sv]

De stora miljöproblemen innebär komplexa samhällsutmaningar och allt eftersom miljöproblemglobaliseras ökar behovet av en internationell spridning av miljöteknik. Export är ett sätt attsprida teknologier internationellt, men trots de potentiella fördelarna med miljöteknikexportstöter det ofta på hinder. Exempel på sådana hinder är externa effekter som att miljönytta intetillfaller det exporterande företaget, och att konkurrenter åker snålskjuts på de företag som tar deinitiala stegen.

Utifrån denna bakgrund syftar den här avhandlingen till att analysera hur miljöteknikexport kanstimuleras ytterligare. För att besvara syftet har fyra frågeställningar utformats som fokuserar påstatliga initiativ för att främja export av miljöteknik och hur deras effekter uppfattas bland företagi målgruppen; hinder och drivkrafter för export hos kommunala bolag; internationella nätverkmellan storstäder som arenor för att underlätta export av miljöteknik; samt affärsmodeller för attexportera miljöteknik. Frågeställningarna utforskas i ett svenskt sammanhang genomdokumentanalys, intervjuer och enkäter. Avhandling bestående av en sammanfattande ”kappa”och fem publicerade vetenskapliga artiklar.

Resultaten från avhandlingen visar att statliga initiativ för att främja export oftast är generiska förolika typer av exportörer inklusive miljöteknikföretag. Initiativen inkluderar vanligtvis finansielltstöd, information, utbildning samt stöd för marknadsbesök och mobilitet. Dock tas ingen störrehänsyn till de särskilda egenskaperna hos miljöteknik vid utformandet av stödet. Stödet uppfattasdessutom av många miljöteknikexportörer som ineffektivt. Kommunala bolag har andra hinderoch drivkrafter än privata företag för att engagera sig internationellt och är oftast involverade iprojekt som inte är direkta exportaktiviteter. Internationella nätverk mellan städer kan fungerasom arenor för informationsutbyte och lärande mellan olika aktörers marknadsegenskaper,miljöproblem och potentiella lösningar samt bidra till legitimitet för tekniken och dessleverantörer. När det gäller utveckling av affärsmodeller för att exportera miljöteknik framstårlagstiftning, legitimitet, och samarbete mellan privata och offentliga aktörer som särskilt viktigt attbeakta på grund av miljöteknikens komplexitet och systemiska natur.

Sammanfattningsvis bidrar avhandlingen till en konceptualisering av miljöteknikexport genom attfokusera på teknikens egenskaper, dess leverantörers affärsmodeller, hinder och drivkrafter förexport, de som köper tekniken och deras egenskaper, kommunikationskanaler samt sammanhangdär spridningen sker. En rekommendation är att politiska beslutsfattare borde stödja export avmiljöteknik på ett dynamiskt sätt där specifika egenskaper hos miljöteknik och dess leverantörerbeaktas i takt med deras internationella affärsutveckling. En dynamisk ansats kan vara ett brakomplement till många befintliga generiska statliga initiativ för att främja export av miljöteknik.En sådan ansats bör ta hänsyn till resurseffektivitet, olikheter mellan företag, samt varakomplementär till de icke-statliga initiativ som redan finns på marknaden. Slutligen föreslåssamarbeten mellan offentliga och privatägda företag, vilket anses högst relevant eftersomoffentliga företag kan bidra till att kombinera den mångåriga erfarenheten av miljötekniskalösningar samt den legitimitet som sådana företag kan ha med privata företags styrkor så somkonkurrenskraft och flexibilitet. Dessa förslag kan bidra till att minska de exporthinder som haratt göra med att miljöteknik ofta är ny och främmande, samt miljöteknikföretagens oftabegränsade resurser.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. , p. 93
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1864
Keywords [en]
Environmental Technology, Technology Diffusion, Export, Internationalisation
National Category
Environmental Management Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Business Administration Information Systems, Social aspects History of Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-139979DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-139979ISBN: 9789176854952 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-139979DiVA, id: diva2:1135523
Public defence
2017-09-29, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-08-23 Created: 2017-08-23 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Promoting the export of environmental technologies: An analysis of governmental initiatives from eight countries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promoting the export of environmental technologies: An analysis of governmental initiatives from eight countries
2016 (English)In: Environmental Development, ISSN 2211-4645, E-ISSN 2211-4653, Vol. 17, p. 73-87Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Export represents a means for the diffusion of environmental technologies with potential socio-economic and environmental benefits. However, environmental technology providers experience export barriers which stifle export and thus several governments continue to formulate export promotion initiatives towards this sector. Although export promotion is identified as essential in the environmental technology policy literature, it is yet to receive attention as to which initiatives are available in different countries including their potential relevance for environmental sustainability. Such knowledge is fundamental for policy learning and transfer including identification of good practices.

To address this knowledge gap, we use market failure and comparative public policy theories to analyse export promotion initiatives from export promotion and export credit agencies across eight countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. Three major conclusions emerge: (1) governmental initiatives to promote environmental technology export can be categorised under financial aid, information provision, education and training, and trade mobility programs; (2) policy choices regarding promotion initiatives are mediated by the institutional context and interests of policy actors (3) relevant aspects of such initiatives for environmental sustainability include the incorporation of particular environmental technology characteristics in initiative formulation, and the prioritisation between different technology and markets types for implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Environmental technology; Export promotion, Market failure, Comparative public policy, Technology policy
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122234 (URN)10.1016/j.envdev.2015.09.009 (DOI)000372791500008 ()
Projects
Megatech project
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-10-24 Created: 2015-10-24 Last updated: 2018-03-09Bibliographically approved
2. Governmental export promotion initiatives: awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness among Swedish environmental technology firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governmental export promotion initiatives: awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness among Swedish environmental technology firms
2015 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 98, p. 222-228Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Some countries rely heavily on exports as an essential component of their economic competitiveness. With the current trends in economic globalization, promoting exports has become a common strategy to boost economic growth. Exports of environmental technologies represent a new window of opportunity for economic growth and a contribution to global sustainability. With this in mind, national governments have designed initiatives that aim to promote exports within this sector. To address their objectives, governments provide initiatives to promote foreign commerce with their environmental technology sector. This article assesses the awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness of such governmental initiatives to promote exports among Swedish environmental technology firms. An Internet survey was sent to 693 Swedish environmental technology companies, previously identified and classified, with a 25% response rate. The responses show a relatively high export orientation although a majority of the respondents claimed they were unaware of governmental initiatives that fit their particular export needs. The companies that did find appropriate governmental initiatives showed a high level of participation in such initiatives, but only a few of these participants could relate their participation to actual exports. The findings suggest there is a need to design support instruments based on the particular characteristics of the environmental technology sector rather than to offer generic solutions for such export promotion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keywords
Environmental technology, Technology diffusion, Market failures, Perceived effectiveness, Firm-level analysis
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102196 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.11.013 (DOI)000356194300023 ()
Projects
Megatech
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06
3. Export of environmental technologies by publicly-owned companies: Approaches, drivers and obstacles among Swedish municipal companies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Export of environmental technologies by publicly-owned companies: Approaches, drivers and obstacles among Swedish municipal companies
2016 (English)In: European Planning Studies, ISSN 0965-4313, E-ISSN 1469-5944, Vol. 24, no 12, p. 2175-2196Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on the export of environmental technology by publicly-owned companies. The export of such technologies has the potential to contribute to economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability. However, research on this emerging topic has so far largely focused on privately-owned SMEs compared to publicly-owned companies. Using interviews with twelve Swedish municipally-owned companies which develop such systems and a survey with thirty-six others, we analyse their approaches, drivers for and obstacles to export. These companies use a combination of different approaches such as subsidiaries, independent projects, licensing and private-public partnerships to engage in export. However, in contrast to private companies which are often driven by internal factors such as extra sales, these municipally-owned companies are largely motivated by external factors such as customer requests and opportunities to contribute to environmental sustainability. Furthermore, their main export barriers relate to differences between the business culture and political systems in their home and target markets. Their export experiences are influenced by their municipal ownership, the types of technologies they develop and the institutional contexts within which they operate. This study reveals an actor type struggling to find a balance between domestic obligations and commercialization in international markets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2016
Keywords
publicly-owned companies, global sustainability, large technical systems, technology diffusion, export, waste management
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-133042 (URN)10.1080/09654313.2016.1251881 (DOI)000390144900005 ()
Note

Funding agencies: Tekniska Verkens Industrial Ecology Research Programme under the BMEX project (Business Models for Market Expansion of Swedish Municipal Companies)

Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-12-08 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
4. Analyzing international city networks for sustainability: A study of five major Swedish cities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analyzing international city networks for sustainability: A study of five major Swedish cities
2016 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 134, no part A, p. 61-69Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article studies five Swedish cities, their membership in international city networks, the different motivations for such membership, and their administrations’ expected and perceived benefits. Particular focus is put on sustainability, environmental technology, and municipal companies as potential beneficiaries of such network membership. This study is motivated by the fact that city networks can potentially contribute to global sustainability goals by accelerating the diffusion of innovations, giving members access to bidirectional information flows, improving the user-producer relationship, and providing legitimacy in the potential recipient regimes.

The study relies on a documentation review, the collection of data from the websites of the studied cities and numerous international city networks, and interviews with city officials responsible for international city networks. It was found that four of the five studied cities are active members of international networks for sustainability, but also that there are large gaps between the two largest cities and the rest when it comes to the number of memberships and the geographical outreach they have through the networks they belong to.

Some city officials claim that it is easier to be active in national networks than in international networks, due to time requirements and coordination among so many members. However, city officials see benefits for their municipal companies when they are members of international networks, and these companies are usually independent when it comes to choosing and administering their memberships. It was found that it is difficult to measure direct benefits from network membership, and link improvements in the studied cities to participation in a particular network (with the exception of groups created for a specific infrastructure project, reported as “networks” by the administrations). In addition, there is no apparent direct correlation between membership and diffusion of environmental solutions from municipal companies. However, the administrations expect indirect benefits such as gaining legitimacy and access to milieus where they can share information and best practices, which could lead to the improvement of both local and global environmental conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Legitimacy;Information Flows;Knowledge Sharing;Municipal Companies;Environmental Technology
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121814 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.093 (DOI)000382409700007 ()
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA); Swedish Energy Agency; Tekniska Verken AB

Available from: 2015-10-07 Created: 2015-10-07 Last updated: 2017-12-01
5. Components of business concepts for the diffusion of large scaled environmental technology systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Components of business concepts for the diffusion of large scaled environmental technology systems
2016 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 128, p. 156-167Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Strategies for sustainable development are arguably part of the most discussed issues among political and corporate actors. These discussions are spurred by global challenges such as climate change, urbanization, and critical natural resource depletion. Sustainable development will require deep structural and wide-reaching changes in current institutions, technologies, and businesses. Furthermore, new approaches are needed to facilitate the development, diffusion, and implementation of environmental technologies. In the academic discourse different concepts, e.g., ecodesign and Product/Service System design, have been proposed within the framework of sustainable development. To deliver even more system-wide environmental improvements, these concepts have been challenged to be expanded in focus beyond products and services to include large technical systems encompassing non-technological dimensions. Motivated by these, the goal of this article is twofold. First, to offer an expanded view on ecodesign of product/service systems using a perspective of large technical systems. Second, to propose and discuss important components to consider when developing business concepts for the diffusion of large scaled environmental technology systems such as district heating supply, waste management, and renewable energy systems. Using qualitative semi-structured interviews and company documentation analysis, this study examines five companies that develop and diffuse large scaled environmental technology systems. As a result of these case studies, we propose components of business concepts that incorporate both technological and non-technological dimensions. Our proposed business concept components are: market (including regulation), finance, resources, activities, partnership (especially public-private partnership), ownership and responsibility, and legitimacy. Regulation, public-private partnership, and legitimacy are particularly important in the diffusion of large scaled environmental technology systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Large technical systems, Business model, Technology diffusion, Product/Service System, Ecodesign
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122235 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.10.040 (DOI)000378568800013 ()
Projects
BMEX project
Note

Funding agencies: We are grateful to Tekniska Verken's Industrial Ecology Research Programme for their financial support to undertake this study as part the BMEX project (Business Models for Market Expansion of Swedish Municipal Companies). We also want to express our sincere gratitude to the interviewees for making time to participate in the interviews. Special thanks also go to Sahar Sadri of Linkoping University for taking part in conducting the interviews.

Available from: 2015-10-24 Created: 2015-10-24 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved

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