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Partnerships and the Privatisation of Environmental Governance: On Myths, Forces of Nature and Other Inevitabilities


  • Aysem Mert


Since the end of the Cold War, two parallel developments took place in global governance: fragmentation in social/environmental legislations across countries, and an increasing uniformity (or 'globalisation') of economic/financial legislations. In the liberal democratic context of global governance, both of these developments are embodied in partnerships for sustainable development. Studying these partnerships in the context of private environmental governance and tracing the origin of the concept in business and law, can reveal the implications of 'privatisation of governance' on sovereignty, authority, and global governance. Focusing on partnerships in the United Nations context, this paper examines the private environmental governance institutions in their historical economic context.

Suggested Citation

  • Aysem Mert, 2012. "Partnerships and the Privatisation of Environmental Governance: On Myths, Forces of Nature and Other Inevitabilities," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 475-498, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev21:ev2122

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frank Biermann & Man-san Chan & Aysem Mert & Philipp Pattberg, 2007. "Multi-stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Does the Promise Hold?," Chapters,in: Partnerships, Governance and Sustainable Development, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Mert, Aysem, 2009. "Partnerships for sustainable development as discursive practice: Shifts in discourses of environment and democracy," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 109-122, March.
    3. Frank Biermann & Klaus Dingwerth, 2004. "Global Environmental Change and the Nation State," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-22, February.
    4. Toms, J.S., 2010. "Calculating profit: A historical perspective on the development of capitalism," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 205-221, February.
    5. Pieter Glasbergen, 2007. "Setting the Scene: The Partnership Paradigm in the Making," Chapters,in: Partnerships, Governance and Sustainable Development, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. R.A. Bryer, 1997. "The Mercantile Laws Commission of 1854 and the Political Economy of Limited Liability," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 50(1), pages 37-56, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Response and Responsibility," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 391-396, November.
    2. Ay┼čem Mert, 2014. "Hybrid governance mechanisms as political instruments: the case of sustainability partnerships," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 225-244, September.

    More about this item


    Global environmental governance; partnerships for sustainable development; globalisation; international relations; corporations; discourses of privatisation; UNEP;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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