The Diffusion of Cleaner Production in Austria

This research project was carried out on behalf of the Austrian Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family Affairs with the following two goals: (1) to estimate the present situation of the diffusion of cleaner production in Austria and (2) to determine the key areas for further stimulation. The project is based on the findings of the theory of diffusion, an evaluation of existing Austrian studies connected to the theme of the project, as well as on six case studies carried out to deepen understanding. In the beginning, the term "cleaner production" was analysed using the international understanding of cleaner production.

The project differentiates between the following four elements of cleaner production: strategy ("philosophy"), method (to find out measures systematically), procedure (to organise the numerous work steps) and, last but not least, measures whose implementation prevents the generation of waste and emissions. On the basis of existing Austrian studies new findings were derived resulting in a representative classification of Austrian entrepreneurs into five categories. The case studies carried out enabled us to deepen the understanding of these categories.

The five types of Austrian entrepreneurs are as follows:

  • the pioneers of environment and innovation (PEI; approx. 15%-20%),
  • the ecologically neutral innovation-oriented entrepreneurs (ENIE; approx.5%-10%),
  • the ecologically receptive market-oriented enterpreneurs (ERME; approx. 15%-20%),
  • the ecologically passive market-oriented entrepreneurs (EPME; approx. 20%-25%) and
  • the fundamentally conservative entrepreneuers (FCE; approx. 35%).

Based on theses categories the current Austrian situation is estimated as follows: the cleaner production strategy is widespread primarily in PEIs, seldom in ERME and ENIE and not at all in EPME and FCE. The interest in a comprehensive method, e.g. of life-cycle assessment, is also only high among the PEI. In contrast, the ERME are more interested in simpler methods such as cleaner production assessment approaches to generate single measures and, again, the EPME and FCE only very rarely use cleaner production methods . From their point of view there is no demand for such methods. The situation is analogous in the case of the cleaner production procedure. The EPI use complex procedures supporting their strategic thinking, the ERME and some ENIE use simpler methods to organise their management of single measures. Again, because of the very low interest, the EPME and FCE see no demand for the use of such procedures. The latter also implement cleaner production measures very rarely. In contrast to this, single cleaner production measures are already considerably widespread within ERME and to some extent in ENIE, but measures matched to each other to achieve overall goals are also implemented infrequently. In contrast to this, the PEI are also pioneers of cleaner production measures. They already implement interrelated measures to achieve the overall environmental and innovative strategy they pursue.

In correlation to the estimation of the current situation as well as the character of the different types of entrepreneuers, the following four key areas are identified for further stimulation of cleaner production in Austria are: Key area one is to support the development and diffusion of cleaner production strategies together with the development and implementation of interrelated cleaner production measures and the development and use of complex methods for this purpose. It seems useful to correlate these three aims to each other. The main target group of key area one is the PEI and to some extent the ERME and ENIE. Key area two is to increase the support for implementing known single measures together with communicating the basic philosophy and basic methods of cleaner production. Again, it seems useful to correlate the aims of key area two with each other. The main target groups of key area two are the ERME and to some extent the EINE and EPME. It is useful to keep in mind that PEI will also participate in activities of key area two. Key area three is dedicated to the lowest level of the different types of entreperneurs, to EPME and the FCE. Here support is needed to spread well-known and tested single cleaner production measures to enable considerable economic benefit or to improve compliance with existing laws and regulations. Together with these measures very basic insights into the philosophy and method of cleaner production must be supported. The last key area concerns the development of new cleaner production measures. Support is needed to foster the development of improved production technologies and more environmentally sound input materials.

The report ends with a general conclusion on environmental policy. In most of the cases examined, cleaner production measures are related to the kind of preventive measures that enables economic benefit. On the one hand it is very important to demonstrate that environmental protection does not necessaraly lead to higher costs but often to economic benefit. On the other hand preventive measures which do not enable economic benefits are also important from a preventive environmental point of view (e.g. many kinds of input materials substitution). In future such cleaner production measures must not be overlooked, rather, they require far greater support through environmental policy.



  • Ornetzeder, M., & Schramm, W. (1997). Die Diffusion von Cleaner Production in Österreich, Studie im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Jugend und Familie. Wien, September 1997.
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01/1996 - 12/1997