Optimising Environmental Product Life Cycles: A Case Study of the European Pulp and Paper Sector

Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1997)

Posted: 19 May 1998

See all articles by Paul M. Weaver

Paul M. Weaver

Durham University - Department of Geography

H. Landis Gabel

INSEAD

Jacqueline M. Bloemhof-Ruwaard

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM); Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Luk N. Van Wassenhove

INSEAD

Abstract

Policy makers are seeking to reduce the environmental impact of the European pulp and paper sector by influencing technology choices throughout its life cycle. Because of its preoccupation with existing technologies, policy risks causing perverse environmental outcomes or adverse effects on some countries' industry and trade. The scientific basis for preferring one technology over another is unclear. We explore these concerns in the case of mandatory fibre recycling using an approach that combines materials accounting methods and operational research techniques. We find that minor changes in technological assumptions result in sharply different environmental optima for the sector. Recycling offers rapid improvement in environmental performance with geographical specialisation in production. An alternative of cleaner primary pulp production plus energy recovery offers potentially greater long term environmental improvement and greater geographical self-sufficiency. An important policy implication is that a level of recycling is needed in the short term that will reduce environmental impacts but not lock out progress on cleaner pulping technologies. Not all paper grades should contain secondary fibre. Our results reconfirm that regulatory policy instruments may unnecessarily limit the overall potential to reduce environmental impacts.

JEL Classification: Q28, Q38

Suggested Citation

Weaver, Paul and Gabel, H. Landis and Bloemhof-Ruwaard, Jacqueline M. and Van Wassenhove, Luk N., Optimising Environmental Product Life Cycles: A Case Study of the European Pulp and Paper Sector. Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 9, No. 2 (1997). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=87972

Paul Weaver

Durham University - Department of Geography ( email )

Durham, DH1 3HY
United Kingdom
(+44 (0)191 374) 2448 (Phone)

H. Landis Gabel (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
F-77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France
(33) (0)1 60 72 42 76 (Phone)
(33) (0)1 60 74 55 00/01 (Fax)

Jacqueline M. Bloemhof-Ruwaard

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Luk N. Van Wassenhove

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77 305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France
(33) (0)1 60 72 42 66 (Phone)
(33) (0)1 60 72 40 49 (Fax)

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