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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Opportunities, approaches, and impediments to environmental sustainability in the US pulp and paper industry DeBoer, Jennifer Lynn

Abstract

The adoption and implementation of environmental sustainability initiatives is of great strategic importance to the US pulp and paper industry (PPI). Not only is the industry subjected to an intense pressure to be more environmentally responsible and reduce its environmental impact, but it is well positioned to leverage numerous opportunities contained within environmental sustainability initiatives. How do businesses in the US PPI respond to this complex labyrinth of opportunities and challenges, and what approaches do they take? The primary motivation of this dissertation is to address these neglected questions. Specifically, this dissertation investigates opportunities, approaches, and impediments to environmental sustainability in the US PPI. First, I consolidate knowledge linking environmental sustainability initiatives and private sector business competitiveness in order to draw research implications for the emerging circular bioeconomy. Second, I identify and characterize businesses’ motivations for and engagement in environmental sustainability initiatives in the US PPI, and subsequently propose a typology to characterize diverse approaches to environmental sustainability. Finally, I examine and analyze regulatory tensions among businesses active and inactive toward environmental sustainability issues in the US PPI. Based on the empirical findings from this research, I suggest that while opportunities certainly exist, researchers must develop better approaches to assessing and measuring how and when environmental sustainability initiatives can simultaneously contribute to business competitiveness and environmental sustainability. This research advances our understanding of factors which influence the adoption and implementation of environmental initiatives in the US PPI, as well as opportunities and impediments businesses face when addressing environmental sustainability issues.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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