Management control for sustainability : Activities and procedures for energy management in industrial companies

Abstract: The thesis takes its point of departure in the important role of the industrial sector in mitigating climate change through a reduced energy use. There is a lack of understanding for how energy management should be organised and implemented in industrial companies. The aim of this thesis is therefore to analyse the management control activities and procedures used by energyintensive industrial companies for energy management and one of its key elements—energy efficiency investments. The thesis also examines how so-called non-energy benefits are considered for energy efficiency investments and their role in driving these investments. The thesis consists of a cover essay and four appended papers, one of which is based on a systematic literature review of benefit concepts applied in the context of energy efficiency investments. The remaining papers build on three empirical studies in Swedish manufacturing and process industries with a particular focus on the pulp and paper industry.Energy management is an important aspect of sustainability for the industrial sector. This thesis advances the understanding of management control for energy management by bridging the theoretical domains of energy management and sustainability management control. The thesis acknowledges both the strategic and operational dimensions of energy management, going beyond the predominating operational perspective, and illuminates the way in which both dimensions are reflected in management control practices. The role of established organisational arrangements spanning different functions and levels is identified. A framework for categorising non-energy benefits is also developed, which may facilitate their inclusion in the investment process. However, the configuration of management control activities and procedures applied for the investment process is essential for the extent to which non-energy benefits can be acknowledged during investment decision-making. Through its emphasis on management control activities and procedures for energy management, this thesis contributes to the managerial path of sustainability management control, providing both theoretical and managerial contributions. Altogether, the four studies constituting this thesis illuminate the need for adequate tools and methods in the transition to a sustainable industrial sector and the role of management control configurations in this endeavour.

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