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Leaking legitimacies: the Finnish forest sector's entanglement in the land conflicts of Atlantic coastal Brazil

  • Susanna Myllylä
  • Tuomo Takala
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    Purpose – The aim of this paper is to focus on the legitimacy problems faced by the Finnish forest industry in the Brazilian context, specifically from the perspective of the region's indigenous communities: the Tupinikim, the Guarani and the Pataxó. Design/methodology/approach – The method used is qualitative research with a case study approach. The empirical data are based on the fieldwork in the states of Espírito Santo and Bahia. The aim was to scrutinize the corporate tactics in gaining societal legitimacy, both in Brazil and in Finland; these were categorized into thematic groups.Findings – The legitimacy of the Finnish companies becomes questionable due to the unethical tactics of their Brazilian business partner, Aracruz Celulose SA. When the company takes its “marginal” stakeholders' demands seriously and commits itself to them in diverse ways (economically, ecologically etc.), corporate social responsibility becomes a reality. The search for legitimacy also requires the company to change its corporate knowledge production systems, and also requires a willingness on the part of the company to encounter different types of knowledge that are locally attached. Originality/value – The study offers new information about the relationship between multinational corporations and local communities in Brazil – especially from the perspective of indigenous communities. The paper also contributes to legitimation research. Finally, the authors offer some concluding remarks considering the new cultural environments of Finnish companies operating in the global South.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 42-60

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:2:p:42-60
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