Climate and Business

The research programme Climate and Business started up in 2009 and came to a close in 2013. The programme was aimed at advancing the state of knowledge about the connection between production/consumption and the impact on climate change in different sectors of society.

Publications

First report: The Fight for the Forest: Cook, Saw, Burn or Preserve?

Researchers Robert Lundmark, Runar Brännlund and Patrik Söderholm discuss competition for forest-based raw materials and how forest resources are best used over the long term.According to the authors of the report, the policy implemented should not try to replace the basic job of the markets – efficiently allocating society’s resources – but should instead focus on the values for which no market sets a price, such as environmental costs and public goods.

The use of forest resources is closely linked to the energy and climate policies implemented with respect to renewable fuel. The authors advocate broad use of economic incentives, such as emissions trading and taxes, but are against state control of fuel use and choice of technology. The role of forests is also important in the “carbon cycle”, and this is not fully reflected today in market prices for forest resources, forest land and forest products.

Second report: Waste: Recycle, Burn or Landfill?

This study provides a new perspective on waste as an unutilized resource. Researchers Robert Lundmark and Eva Samakovlis find that a more flexible approach should be used for the “waste hierarchy”, for instance, taking local differences into account to a greater extent. The researchers also highlight the need for functioning markets for waste that internalize costs, such as environmental damage, in prices. Properly designed economic tools to support waste policy can:

  • provide price signals to private market participants that take all economic costs to society into account and get companies and households to change their behaviour in a desirable way. One example of this kind of signal would be weight-based refuse collection fees, which are used by only 10 per cent of Sweden’s local authorities
  • lower the costs of achieving environmental objectives by rewarding new and efficient solutions by market players
  • promote long-term solutions to the waste problem by rewarding investment in technological development by those companies involved.

Third report: The Energy Market, Ownership and the Climate

Should publicly-owned energy companies take extra steps to reduce climaterelated emissions? Are the efficiency and investments of energy producers affected by their form of ownership? These are some of the questions that economists Tommy Lundgren, Jesper Stage, Thomas Tangerås and Björn Carlén try to answer in the third report of this programme. They warn that it could be expensive and inefficient to let energy companies owned by local authorities assume a special responsibility for the climate.