The Austrian Pulp and Paper Industries Energy Use in the Context of the European Recovery Program 1945-1955
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
XVIII World Economic History Conference
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In my environmental history PhD project, I am analyzing the impact of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Austrian pulp and paper industries. In the first part of my project, I am focusing on the use of energy and raw materials from 1945 until 1960. This period can be divided by the pulp and paper industry entering the ERP in 1950. Immediately after the Second World War, the pulp and paper industries had to deal with extreme shortages in coal and raw material supplies. Archive material shows that the industrial corporation as well as single company owners were creative in their efforts to overcome these challenges. Energy efficiency depended on the utilization of capacities in a time when supply chains were interrupted and supplies were short. They were able to recover to pre-war production levels even before the industry entered the ERP. Afterwards, it could modernize its factory equipment and rationalize production processes. The investment program was influenced by the experts of the ECA (Economic Cooperation Administration) that was in charge of granting ERP loans to the applying companies. The investments increased the energy efficiency on many levels. This included technologies that allowed reusing energy within the production process, reducing waste as well as using waste products from other industries. It also increased the rapidly growing pulp and paper industries? own energy production capacities and enabled it to cover a growing amount of energy demand by itself. In my presentation I will show, how these technological innovations changed the patterns of interaction with other industries (e.g. the sawmill industry) and the environment (e.g. wood use), which prepared the pulp and paper industry to persist as one of the most important industries in Austria today.