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The revival of the Honourable Merchant? Analysing private forest governance at firm level

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  • Anne-Kathrin Weber

    (University of Freiburg)

Abstract

In the context of global climate governance, multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly seen as financial, technical and political partners. Looking at MNCs with core business activities linked to deforestation, this article analyses private governance activities focused on sustainability that occur at firm level. These activities include newly enacted, concrete policies and activities aimed at climate protection, such as the concept of carbon insetting. The current body of the literature on global governance focuses largely on collective action, with activities at firm level still under-researched and under-conceptualized. To better understand (a) what drives MNCs to undertake such activities and (b) why their performance differs both within and between industry sectors, three motives are proposed—preventing reputational damage, building resilience and assuming ethical responsibility—with the latter indicating a revival of the Honourable Merchant, an economic role model created in the early 16th century. The empirical analysis is, therefore, embedded in a theoretical framework that seeks to capture the complexity of corporate rationality.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne-Kathrin Weber, 2018. "The revival of the Honourable Merchant? Analysing private forest governance at firm level," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 619-634, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ieaple:v:18:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10784-018-9408-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s10784-018-9408-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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