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Development on whose terms?: CSR discourse and social realities in Papua New Guinea's extractive industries sector


  • Gilberthorpe, Emma
  • Banks, Glenn


The emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the extractive industries represents a bid to legitimize the sector after decades of environmental disasters and the trampling of indigenous rights. But whilst the rise in CSR has meant safer technologies and better stakeholder engagement, there is little evidence of any real socio-economic development at the grassroots. This paper examines the uneasy relationship existing between the strategic ‘business model’ of CSR and the brand of development it delivers. Using evidence from two multinational extractive industries in Papua New Guinea, we show how weaknesses in CSR practice come from greater emphasis on meeting global ‘performance standards’ than on the specificities of the social contexts in which strategies are implemented. These weaknesses, we argue, lead to ill-conceived and inappropriate development programmes that generate inequality, fragmentation, and social and economic insecurity. We conclude that greater engagement with affected communities will facilitate the development of more mutually beneficial and appropriate CSR strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilberthorpe, Emma & Banks, Glenn, 2012. "Development on whose terms?: CSR discourse and social realities in Papua New Guinea's extractive industries sector," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 185-193.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:37:y:2012:i:2:p:185-193
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2011.09.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cowell, Sarah J. & Wehrmeyer, Walter & Argust, Peter W. & Robertson, J. Graham S., 1999. "Sustainability and the primary extraction industries: theories and practice," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 277-286, December.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why corporate social responsibility fails to promote peace in Papua New Guinea
      by Kylie McKenna in Development Policy Blog on 2017-08-21 01:00:23


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    Cited by:

    1. Elisa Giuliani, 2016. "Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries’ Industrial Clusters," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 39-54, January.
    2. Sudarto, Sumarsono & Takahashi, Katsuhiko & Morikawa, Katsumi, 2017. "Efficient flexible long-term capacity planning for optimal sustainability dimensions performance of reverse logistics social responsibility: A system dynamics approach," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 179-192.
    3. Bolay, Matthieu, 2014. "When miners become “foreigners”: Competing categorizations within gold mining spaces in Guinea," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 117-127.
    4. Bozigar, Matthew & Gray, Clark L. & Bilsborrow, Richard E., 2016. "Oil Extraction and Indigenous Livelihoods in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 125-135.
    5. Kathryn Tomlinson, 2017. "Oil and gas companies and the management of social and environmental impacts and issues: The evolution of the industry’s approach," WIDER Working Paper Series 022, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:259-266 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Banks, Glenn, 2013. "Little by little, inch by inch: Project expansion assessments in the Papua New Guinea mining industry," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 688-695.
    8. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:366-376 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Van Alstine, James & Manyindo, Jacob & Smith, Laura & Dixon, Jami & AmanigaRuhanga, Ivan, 2014. "Resource governance dynamics: The challenge of ‘new oil’ in Uganda," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 48-58.
    10. Kemp, Deanna & Owen, John R., 2013. "Community relations and mining: Core to business but not “core business”," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 523-531.
    11. Imbun, Benedict Y. & Duarte, Fernanda & Smith, Paul, 2015. "“You are not our only child”: Neoliberalism, food security issues and CSR discourse in the Kutubu oilfields of Papua New Guinea," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 40-49.
    12. repec:eee:proeco:v:190:y:2017:i:c:p:45-59 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Andrews, Nathan, 2016. "Challenges of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in domestic settings: An exploration of mining regulation vis-à-vis CSR in Ghana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 9-17.
    14. Van Alstine, James & Barkemeyer, Ralf, 2014. "Business and development: Changing discourses in the extractive industries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 4-16.
    15. Krichewsky, Damien, 2014. "The socially responsible company as a strategic second-order observer: An Indian case," MPIfG Discussion Paper 14/10, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    16. Tang-Lee, Diane, 2016. "Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and public engagement for a Chinese state-backed mining project in Myanmar – Challenges and prospects," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 28-37.
    17. Lyons, Margaret & Bartlett, Jennifer & McDonald, Paula, 2016. "Corporate social responsibility in junior and mid-tier resources companies operating in developing nations – beyond the public relations offensive," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 204-213.
    18. Caxaj, C. Susana & Berman, Helene & Varcoe, Colleen & Ray, Susan L. & Restoulec, Jean-Paul, 2014. "Gold mining on Mayan-Mam territory: Social unravelling, discord and distress in the Western highlands of Guatemala," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 50-57.


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