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Governmental export promotion initiatives: awareness, participation, and perceived effectiveness among Swedish environmental technology firms
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 98, 222-228 p.Article 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. Vol. 98, 222-228 p.
Keyword [en]
Environmental technology, Technology diffusion, Market failures, Perceived effectiveness, Firm-level analysis
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102196DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.11.013ISI: 000356194300023OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102196DiVA: diva2:670503
Projects
Megatech
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06
In thesis
1. Promotion of Environmental Technology Export: Governmental Initiatives and Business Concepts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promotion of Environmental Technology Export: Governmental Initiatives and Business Concepts
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This qualitative and quantitative study examines governmental initiatives and business concepts as approaches to promote the export of environmental technology. Here, environmental technology refers to technologies (products, services, organizational models, and large-scaled technical systems) whose development and use actually provide or intends to provide a better environmental performance than their relevant alternatives from a life cycle perspective. Using literature reviews, surveys and interviews, this thesis collects primary and secondary data from national government level, private Swedish environmental technology firms and Swedish municipality-owned firms.

Three main research questions guide this thesis. These questions address how different governments in selected countries promote the export of environmental technologies and how private Swedish environmental technology firms perceive the effectiveness of  governmental export promotion initiatives in realising export. In a complementary view, the thesis focuses on fundamental components of business concepts for export of environmental technologies by municipality-owned companies. These three units of analysis (i.e. – governmental initiatives, private companies and municipality-owned companies) are influenced by the characteristics of the environmental technology sector in Sweden.

The main results from the study suggest three conclusions. First, governmental initiatives intended to promote the export of environmental technology are largely similar to approaches that intend to promote the export of “conventional” technology. These initiatives can be categorised as: financial aid programs, information programs, education and training programs, and trade mobility related programs. When it comes to perceived effectiveness of governmental promotion initiatives by private firms, results indicate that firms that accessed more than one type of governmental promotion, particularly those including financial support, perceived governmental promotion as contributing to realising export. For municipality-owned companies exporting environmental technology, the thesis proposes seven fundamental components of a business concept as: market (including regulation), finance, resources, activities, partnership (private-public partnership), ownership and responsibility, and legitimacy. Among these factors, regulation, public-private partnership, and legitimacy are particular to environmental technologies.

These results suggest a dynamic balance between generic and tailored export promotion initiatives for environmental technology exporters, with much attention to program implementation as is given to program content formulation. The components proposed for municipality export opens up a potentially new research trajectory on environmentally conscious design that considers technological as well as non-technological changes based on large-scaled environmental technology systems for system-wide environmental improvements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 47 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1673
National Category
Environmental Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-108730 (URN)10.3384/lic.diva-108730 (DOI)978-91-7519-268-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-09-12, A30, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-07-02 Created: 2014-07-02 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
2. Environmental Technology and its Role in the Search for Urban Environmental Sustainability: The Dynamics of Adaptation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Technology and its Role in the Search for Urban Environmental Sustainability: The Dynamics of Adaptation
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to analyze the role that environmental technology plays in the solution of environmental problems in cities, and discuss models and conditions that can facilitate the processes of selection, implementation and use of environmental technologies in and by cities.

The technological component is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of modern cities. The dependence of humans on technology is in most cases a given, something that is not ignored in the sustainability debate. The development and implementation of new, “better” technologies is however hindered by the inertia that modern societies have and the influence of the dominant systems (e.g. economic systems based on growth, extraction of natural resources and environmental disturbance). So-called environmental technologies are not always able to efficiently compete against other technologies that are embedded in societies by lock-in mechanisms, e.g. learning by doing and using, scale economies, subsidies, and network externalities.

Even with the “right” technologies, an exclusively techno-centered approach to sustainability can result in other problems, and it might reduce the sustainability debate and the cities’ role in it to discussions of an administrative nature. The actual role of local actors and their agency must be also considered in the models and frameworks directed at understanding sustainability transition processes. It is thus important to analyze the dynamics of technology selection, implementation, use and diffusion in cities from a stakeholders’ perspective as well.

Not only is the availability of technology of interest for understanding the impact it has on the environment, but also the intensity of its use. This has resulted in increased attention from politicians and scholars on the so-called global cities (e.g. London, New York, Tokyo), which are characterized by their intense use of e.g. transport, security and surveillance, and information and communication. Paradigmatic models of sustainability can however be contested when the role of local actors, power and agency are considered in detail and not isolated from the context. Some authors recognize the need to address what they call “ordinary cities”, since focusing on the cities’ comparative level of development (be it political, economic or technological) hinders the possibility of bidirectional learning. In the end, sustainability is a “collective good,” which means that it is in everyone’s interest to coordinate efforts and learn from the best practices, regardless of where they come from.

This thesis focuses on “ordinary cities,” and promises to offer conclusions that can contribute to a better understanding of how societies can learn from each other and how environmental technologies can have deeper and better results when implemented in different contexts than the ones where they were developed. Two questions related to the process of environmental-technology adaptation are addressed in this thesis: How do technology adaptation processes for the solution of urban environmental problems take place in cities? And how do cities benefit from environmental technologies?

It is found that environmental technology is not only seen as a solution to environmental problems in cities, but every day more as a component of strategies to attract attention and compete for resources in national and international markets. Cities have different adaptation and learning strategies. This means that technological solutions have to be flexible and adaptive to local conditions, and allow for vernacular knowledge and past experiences to enrich their performance by facilitating their connection to existing systems. Learning between cities is important and necessary for global sustainability transitions. When it comes to environmental technology, this process is facilitated by strong proof-of-concept projects. Such projects are not only expected to be able to show their technical ability to solve a problem, but must also offer contextual connections to the problems faced by interested cities or potential implementers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 75 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1659
Keyword
Technology Adaptation; Governance Mechanisms; Spread of Technology; Stakeholder Involvement; Proof-of-concept; Environmental Technology Suppliers; Urban Imaginaries
National Category
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117947 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-117947 (DOI)978-91-7519-075-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-15, ACAS, A-Huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-05-18 Created: 2015-05-18 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved
3. Stimulating the diffusion of environmental technologies through export
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stimulating the diffusion of environmental technologies through export
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. 93 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1864
Keyword
Environmental Technology, Technology Diffusion, Export, Internationalisation
National Category
Environmental Management Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Business Administration Information Systems, Social aspects History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-139979 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-139979 (DOI)9789176854952 (ISBN)
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: 2017-08-31Bibliographically approved

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