Transnational Sustainability Governance in the Global South: A Comparative Study of Producer Support in Brazil

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.1.01 (Tower One)
Philip Schleifer, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
A primary objective of transnational sustainability governance is to address governance failures in the global south. But little is known about the conditions under which producer groups in these countries participate in private regulation. To shed some light on this question, this article examines the decisions of key players in the Brazilian agriculture industry to support (not to support) transnational sustainability governance. Using a qualitative case study approach, it explores how soy producers first backed the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, but then decided to withdraw their support from the initiative. In the sugarcane sector, the dynamic was a very different one. After initial resistance, the principal industry association switched strategy and endorsed Bonsucro, making it the leading sustainability standard for sugarcane in Brazil. Through a within-in case analysis and cross-sector comparison, this article shows how southern producer groups responded to economic and regulatory changes in the global market place, in particular, a shift in trade flows and the adoption of public sustainability regulation in the global north.