Governance challenges and the prevention of industrial environmental accidents: The case of finland

Nina Wessberg (Corresponding Author), Riitta Molarius

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This paper examines the challenges faced in governing accidental industrial emissions. Accidental emissions are unexpected situations where harmful runaway emissions are released into the environment, causing damage to people, ecosystems, human property and company images. We claim that in Finland the practices of environmental authorities do not encourage companies to prevent accidental emissions in the most effective way. According to our study, based on action research and case study augmented with document analysis and interviews, authorities operate under three different kinds of frame: an environmental permit frame, a risk prevention frame and a major accident prevention frame. Accidental industrial emissions are, in our view, best governed under the risk prevention frame, where practices and management systems are addressed covering the entire complex socio‐technical nature of an industrial process. However, environmental authorities, in Finland, focus on environmental permit frames, stressing limit values, hence concentrating on managing the industrial process component by component. This approach may be suitable for the governing of continuous emissions, but not that of accidental emissions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-386
    Number of pages16
    JournalEuropean Environment
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Environmental risk analysis
    • environmental risk assessment
    • environmental accident
    • accidental emission
    • incidental emission
    • risk management
    • environmental management
    • environmental governance
    • industry
    • frame analysis
    • case study


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