Leveraging Green Power: Environmental Rules for Project Finance
Environmental policies of providers of international finance namely the World Bank, export credit agencies, and Equator Principles banks provide interesting cases within which to study the power of business not as only an input to the political process or as a constraint on politics, but also as a conduit for both state and non-state actors.This paper shows how targeting financial actors has allowed NGOs to transform their rather weak discursive power base into instrumental power over business actors in other sectors. NGOs have channeled their power through states, consumers, and financial institutions; this has allowed them to augment discursive power over their targets with additional indirect, yet more immediate, forms of structural and instrumental power. As a consequence of both direct and indirect NGO pressure, financial institutions have adopted environmental policies. This article posits a theoretical explanation of the underspecified power relationships in NGO strategies that allow NGOs to exploit weak links in commodity chains for their campaigns.This paper argues that financial institutions wield considerable structural power through their ability to control access to finance. It is particularly this power base which has made them prime targets for NGOs campaigning for the greening of infrastructure development projects. As a consequence of NGO pressure, financial institutions have adopted environmental policies which in turn have provided the World Bank and Equator banks with additional sources of discursive power.
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