Business History Review

Research Article

Green Innovation Systems in Swedish Industry, 1960–1989

Ann-Kristin Bergquist and Kristina Söderholm


Organizational networks had a strong influence on the diffusion of green knowledge within the Swedish pulp-and-paper industry from the mid-1960s to the 1980s. The environmental adaptations made by this industrial sector were not merely the result of a corporate initiative or of the response by firms or industries to environmental regulation. An examination of the innovation-system approach that was used to further the industry's environmental goals reveals that the knowledge and technology development underpinning the project depended on a network of diverse actors. Within this network, the semi-governmental Institute for Water and Air Protection, working with a consulting company, was a critical generator and intermediary of knowledge. Thus, the success of the project was largely due to the Institute's balanced relations with government and industry.

ANN-KRISTIN BERGQUIST is assistant professor in the Department of Economic History and is affiliated with the Centre for Resource and Environmental Economics, both at Umeå University in Sweden.

KRISTINA SÖDERHOLM is associate professor of the history of technology and acting head of the history unit at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden.