Greening the tiger? Social movements' influence on adoption of environmental technologies in the pulp and paper industries of Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand

Few industries have grown so fast, or been so conflictual, as the pulp and paper industries of Australia, Indonesia and Thailand in the late 1980s and early 1990s. High-profile disputes flared in all three countries over social and environmental impacts of pulp mill development. By the mid-1990s, manufacturers in all three countries were adopting cleaner production technologies. Do these developments indicate the successful 'greening' of these industries, including in newly industrializing countries not known for stringent environmental regulation? What is the relationship between environmental and community activism and pulp firms' adoption of green technologies in these countries? I sought answers to these questions in 12 months' field research, interviews, and archival study in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand; correspondence with individuals and organizations in Finland; additional studies in North America; and use of available data. I found that local activists had successfully influenced government regulation of new and existing industry, and encouraged industry adoption of cleaner, elementally chlorine-free (ECF), pulping and bleaching technologies in Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Initially resistant to change, leading pulp manufacturers in these countries modified existing processing, adopted new technologies, produced more efficiently, and gained access to new (green) markets. Globally, Greenpeace International played a crucial role in encouraging development and adoption of the new technologies. This study extends scholarship on the social construction of technology by addressing environmental technology, Southeast Asia and Australia, the pulp and paper industry, social activism, North-South trade relations, and ethnic conflict

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Author David A. Sonnenfeld
Institution UC Santa Cruz
Advisor Profs. Andrew Szasz (chair), Paul Lubeck, James O'Connor
Expected graduation 1996