Keywords: eco-efficiency, environmental policy, policy pressure, research activities, wastewater, waste, energy efficiency, Dutch paper and board industry, The Netherlands, industrial ecology, innovation
Dynamic perspective on the relation between environmental policy and eco-efficiency: the case of wastewater treatment, waste and energy efficiency in the Dutch paper and board industry
The relation between environmental policy and innovation is complex. This paper aims to gain insight into the way accumulation of policy measures, or in other words, the increase of policy pressure, affects research activities and eco-efficiency. Three environmental domains have been researched for the Dutch paper and board industry: wastewater, waste and energy. Three trends (19802003) are identified for these topics: (1) development of environmental policy; (2) number research projects started and (3) eco-efficiency. We argue that if existing solutions and knowledge are not sufficient to reach the objectives, research activities will take place before eco-efficiency is improved. Moreover, we argue that an increase in policy pressure can cause competition between policy instruments. This may result in a smoothed and delayed increase in research activities (if existing knowledge is insufficient) and eco-efficiency improvement. This delayed eco-efficiency improvement was observed for wastewater and waste. It was not observed for energy efficiency.