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Technology and the Market

Demand, Users and Innovation

Edited by Rod Coombs, Ken Green, Albert Richards and Vivien Walsh

The interplay between demand from the market, the role of users in shaping that demand, and the way in which these factors influence the innovation process has always been a complex one. This forward thinking book examines this interplay from a technological change perspective. The contributors explore the potential for rapprochement between economics, sociological and other social science disciplines in considering the allocation of resources and the making of decisions about technological change. The papers within this book represent a judicious blend of theory and empirical research and look at a broad range of innovations, markets and technologies in medicine, agricultural and food production, services and IT. Technology and the Market raises the question of the many ‘visible hands’ that are involved in linking technology and the market together.
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Chapter 7: When markets meet socio-politics: the introduction of chlorine -free bleaching in the Swedish pulp and paper industry

Adrian Smith and Alain Rajotte


7. When markets meet socio-politics: the introduction of chlorine-free bleaching in the Swedish pulp and paper industry1 Adrian Smith and Alain Rajotte INTRODUCTION This chapter seeks to illustrate how situating events in their social and political context can improve our understanding of cleaner technology innovation and diffusion. The chapter discusses the shift to non-chlorine bleaching technologies in the pulp industry after discharges from traditional chlorine bleaching were found to be causing environmental damage. The case study is apt because green market demand is widely credited with bringing forth cleaner, non-chlorine technology in the industry. Sweden is recognized as having led the way in the new green market for non-chlorine pulp which emerged at the end of the 1980s, and is the main focus of this chapter (though the outlook will be international where necessary). The chapter suggests that socio-political factors can be particularly useful when explaining green market demand and technological responses to that market demand. The study also touches upon how technology choices stabilize, since the best replacement for the traditional chlorine process was by no means clear. Identifying the rich confluence of social, political, scientific, technological and market processes and how these positioned Sweden in the vanguard of non-chlorine technology requires a reconsideration of the chlorine-free bleaching story. Important processes in the case are introduced after the following section has elaborated the event being studied, namely the switch away from chlorine bleaching, and the features that make the case so interesting. Following this, section three discusses...

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