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Miljöforskning i statens och industrins tjänst: Institutet för Vatten och Luftvårdsfrågor (IVL) 1960-tal till 1980-tal
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
Institutionen för Industriell ekonomi och samhällsvetenskap, Enheten för Teknikhistoria, Luleå tekniska universitet.
2010 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 1966, the Institute of Water and Air Protection (IVL) was established and became the first institute in Sweden focusing on industrial environmental problems. At the same time the business company IVL AB was founded. Due to the collaborative form of organisation – including representation of all core industries and the environmental authorities – the IVL organisation came to represent a unique set up, even seen from an international perspective.

In this paper we explore the driving forces behind the formation of IVL and IVL AB and their contribution to the environmental adaptation of the manufacturing Swedish industry during the 1960s to 1980s. We specifically focus on the direction of its research activities and the flow knowledge between IVL and its interested partners. By doing so we seek to further understand its role and function within the Swedish environmental protections system in general as well as its role for environmental adaptation of the industry more specifically. 

We find that IVL formed an important basis for knowledge generation and diffusion within the Swedish environmental protection system, foremost during the 1960s and the 1970s.  It was essentially through applied research on the environmental effects of emissions that IVL supported the process of environmental adaptation of industry. Besides this, IVL was also involved in developing technical measures aiming for lowering the hazardous emissions. The assignments of the business company, IVL AB, were mostly focused on mapping the emissions from industrial plants, i.e. identifying discharges and their effects in the recipients. In this regard, the development works of IVL on the standardisation of methods of analysis and measurement instruments constituted important prerequisites.

The knowledge mobilized within IVL and IVL AB was also of importance to the environmental authorities. Generated information concerning levels and effects of discharges formed partly the basis for the so called individual emission permits that was granted by the authorities to polluting plants, with start in 1969. Adequate knowledge can in this regard be seen as a surety for giving correct priorities, i.e. to direct resources towards those problems that were most urgent.

Besides knowledge on pollution matters related to the manufacturing industry, IVL did obtain a role as national expert organisation. To a certain degree, IVL was also acknowledged abroad, and established a unique competence on effects of oil spill and mercury. IVL were for instance employed by international organisations, such as WHO and UNESCO in the 1970s.

We find that the role and the form of IVL and IVLAB changed in the beginning of the 1980s. IVLAB was sold to the competing company ÅF and the research institute IVL was converted from a foundation into a company. We believe that these organizational changes reflected shifts within the pallet of environmental problems facing industry and the society in large, which in turn had effects on the functions of IVL and IVLAB. Much of the rough mapping- and clean-up work had been completed while also previous services by IVL and IVLAB increasingly were handled by the companies themselves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för ekonomisk historia, Umeå universitet , 2010. , 23 p.
Umeå papers in economic history, ISSN 1653-7378 ; 40
Keyword [sv]
industriell miljöanpassning, miljöforskning, miljöteknik, branschsamarbete, miljöpolitik, basindustri
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-38732OAI: diva2:381277
"Klimatpolitiska styrmedel i ett internationellt perspektiv. Acceptans, teknikspridning och policyöverföring"
Available from: 2011-01-03 Created: 2010-12-26 Last updated: 2011-03-31Bibliographically approved

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Bergquist, Ann-Kristin
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