Panel: Environment

Contemporary climate decline has been at the centre of much research in different areas of socio-political sciences. While there are less and less arguments that contest global climate change as a phenomenon, it continues being the topic of polarisation and debate. Sides might agree that society needs to address this issue to avoid existential catastrophe, though there is limited agreement on how it should be approached. Part of this debate is around the role of big corporations in environmental decline.

Acknowledging that corporations play an important role in our society both economically and politically, it is impossible to deny corporate impact on the environment. The description of corporate impact is very diverse. Arguments on one side suggest that having the capital and power of big corporations are crucial in solving the environmental crisis through implementing new technologies, shifting to sustainable production and supply chain management or providing green and ecologically friendly products to consumers. On the other hand, critics provide a dose of scepticism of the business sector’s ability to change the environment for the better due to the extractive nature of capitalism, the need for corporate economic growth, and often being at the root of environmental scandals.

Approaching the topic of corporations and the environment we would like to learn specifically from examples from Asia and The Pacific. This being a heterogeneous region with different political regimes, levels of capital accumulation ranging from developing to rich countries, works analyzing corporations and environment can serve to generate and multiply data and insights, which in turn would boost theory building. Understanding the role of big corporations in this region is very relevant since people in developing countries suffer more from environmental changes (often caused by transnational companies). This would provide for a rich conversation and exchange of knowledge between scholars from regional perspectives as well as looking at specific industries.

This panel addresses the question “What is the corporate impact on environment in the context of Asia and The Pacific?”

In particular, we are interested in approaching it from several different sides:

  1. What is the impact of corporations on the environment?

    • Big scale production is often negative

    • Extractive industries

    • Agriculture

  2. What are the means through which corporations address environmental issues?

    • CSR, sustainable practices

    • Critique of corporate sustainable practices

  3. How environmental change caused by transnational corporations' activities impact local communities?

  4.  What governmental policies exist in Asia and the Pacific to regulate corporate impact on the environment?

  5. What are the grass-roots initiatives/movements that address these issues?


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