Greening the invisible hand : how environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) succeed and fall in technology change
Author(s)Rossi, Mark S. (Mark Stephen), 1962-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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This dissertation examines how national environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sweden and the United States (US) tried to diffuse cleaner production technologies in the pulp and paper industry from 1980-1998. The environmental organizations were: Greenpeace Sweden, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace USA, and Natural Resources Defense Council. The technologies they tried to diffuse reduced dioxins and other organochlorines from mills that bleach pulp for making white paper products. Totally chlorine-free (TCF) bleaching emerged as the cleanest bleaching technology in commercial use: it eliminated organochlorine water pollution. The Swedish environmental organizations, with help from Greenpeace Germany, were more successful at diffusing TCF bleaching. The success in Sweden emerged because the environmental organizations created market demand for TCF paper: they formed collaborative relations with major buyers of bleached paper, proved that TCF paper was a technically viable alternative, and connected environmentally-minded consumers with like-minded manufacturers. Supporting their success were: a longer history of market campaigns to transform paper bleaching, the lack of opposition to TCF paper in Germany (a major consumer of Swedish bleached pulp), and massive seal and fish die-offs in 1988. The failure in the US occurred because the environmental organizations did not create market demand: they disagreed on environmental goals, they did not succeed in forming collaborative alliances with major purchasers in favor of TCF paper, and they could not overcome a sophisticated counter-campaign from environmental laggards in the American pulp and paper industry.(cont.) This dissertation proposes that success in the face of strident industry opposition entails changing organizing strategy: national environmental groups need to engage in sectoral organizing. In sectoral organizing environmental groups work to create a more environmentally sustainable busies sector, rather than addressing a single problem within that sector. Sectoral organizing creates opportunities for achieving challenging goals by collaborating with consumers across multiple environmental problems, addressing the low hanging fruit first, then moving to more complex problems. By creating trust, credibility, and legitimacy with consumers, environmental organizations are more likely to succeed in the face of opposition from environmental laggards.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2003.Includes bibliographical references (p. 473-491).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.