Programme  OS6g Public-private partnership  abstract 331

Water Soft-path Application in Industrial Systems: A Pulp and Paper Case Study

Author(s): Elizabeth Hendriks
Elizabeth Hendriks has recently completed her Master's of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada


Article: abs331_article.pdf
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Session: OS6g Public-private partnership
AbstractFreshwater availability, allocation

and quality are increasingly becoming a concern in Canada. Canada’s apparent availability of abundant freshwater is

not what it was thought to be. With increasing competition for water sources and inadequate management systems

water use and management approaches are being re-examined. While urban and municipal water uses are highly

studied, Canadian industrial water use is not. Despite that industrial water use is understudied, the Canadian pulp

and paper industry is a major user of water and contributes to quality water issues where mills are located. This

thesis is divided into two equally important parts. First, this research seeks to understand the influences and

prevailing conditions on the decision-making framework of pulp and paper mills. Second, it seeks to understand

how the prevailing conditions affect the applicability of the water soft-path concept in the pulp and paper industry. It

will contribute to the literature of Canadian industrial water management.

This research specifically examines

the applicability of the water soft-path concept under the stresses and realities of the systems of influence identified

as market forces, policy and regulation, and technology faced by the Canadian pulp and paper industry. Corporate

culture was an implicitly common thread that ran through these systems of influence. A variety of methods were used

in this study including, a literature review conducted by themes, surveys, interviews, analysis of archival data and

backcasting were used as the methodological approaches. The literature review was conducted by themes of water

management, technology, market forces, regulation and corporate culture. Surveys were conducted to gain water

use data from specific mills but a low response rate required a widening of the research boundaries. Interviews were

conducted with government officials, industry representatives, and environmental non-governmental organizations.

The interviews contributed to the boundary setting and understanding of the influences that impact decision-making

for industry. The analysis of archival data was to better understand how water use in pulp and paper mills has

changed through the years. Understandably the systems of influence (market forces, policy and regulation, and

technology) work independently and together to create a complex environment in which decisions on water use in

pulp and paper mills are made. The complexity of the decision-making framework is great and the barriers to water

soft-path application difficult.

Market forces are less capable of addressing environmental externalities such

as water. Regulation and policy has yet to address water use in industry. Technology does provide an important

opportunity for efficient water use and application of the pulp and paper industry. Ultimately, the Canadian pulp and

paper industry is in a redefining moment where opportunity exists to create a new direction and approach to water

use in the Canadian pulp and paper industry.

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