Environmental Performance in Swedish Municipalities. Challenging diversity and triggers for change

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine how non-mandatory municipal environmental work is carried out. What drives certain municipalities to be more active than others, and what works as barriers? It was also of interest to understand if the mandatory work could influence, trigger or hinder other environmental goals and ideas. Further, the research looked to identify some characteristics that differentiate an active municipality from a passive one in order to understand what stops all municipalities from being equally active. These general questions were condensed into two research questions: What are the triggering factors for the enabling of active municipality environmental work? What are the barriers when it comes to active municipality environmental work? The questions were researched for interconnectivity as well as for individual answers. The research identified a number of triggering factors that can enable active environmental work within municipalities. The foremost factors are prime movers, influential persons whether they are politicians, civil servants or any other stakeholders, and the organizations in which they operate. Other strong triggers include interest groups and their influence and the threat of bad will. A number of barriers were also identified, such as economy, organizational structure and negative stakeholder pressure. It also turned out that the triggers and barriers were indeed interconnected and somewhat dependent on one another. One such instance was LIP money which has bridged the gap between the need for municipalities to be environmentally active and the lack of economy or organizational will to free funds for the needed work. The LIP money made it hard for decision makers to refuse projects in the beginning since they actually brought funds into the system and the municipality could bring working hours into the deal.

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