Eco-innovative measures in large Swedish companies: An inventory based on company reports
The project creates a detailed picture through a survey of eco-innovative measures among Sweden's 100 largest companies from 11 industries. Data from latest corporate annual reports was gathered in 2012 and analyzed using a range of criteria that show what types of measures companies pursue in order to tackle environmental issues. These criteria range from internal measures, such as developing new products and processes, to measures that include the value chain and other public/private partners that can help boost eco-innovation. The study shows that the majority of companies see themselves as proactive and that most reported are internal measures, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy and materials. Examples for energy efficiency measures are effective lightning, insulation and lean production. Examples for renewable measures regarding energy are green electricity based on wind, biomass and solar. Examples for renewable measures regarding materials are bio and organic based products, or biomass based production. Among the interesting eco-innovation examples there are biopharmaceuticals (Astra), ZERO mission (Skanska), “one tone life” (ICA), dinner parties “rest dating”(Landmännen), smart homes and cars (Semcon), smart application of technologies (ABB and Ericsson), smart grips to link homes, vehicles and users (Toyota), regenerative braking system (SJ), “Zee-weed” technologies (ITT), biomass-based fuels of their own process (SCA), light-weight materials (SSAB). Measures including the value chain focus on procurement and measures including the consumer are rarely mentioned. Drivers for these measures are ranging from business opportunities to cost and legislation. Companies in the construction and consultancy/service sector have taken up environmental issues as their business opportunity. Companies in general mention legislation, such as REACH, as well as consumer demands as driver, while companies in the automotive and transport sector seldom mention drivers. The study also shows that annual reports are sufficient for gathering general information on product development and production processes, while information regarding R&D is not always presented and needs to be complemented with questionnaires and interviews. The project provides a starting point for further research on eco-innovation regarding the value chain, the consumers and the role of networks.