Chapter 18: Transnational Corporations and Global Environmental Governance
Jennifer Clapp* In the current era of economic globalization there has been remarkable growth in both the number of transnational corporations (TNCs) and the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI). The number of TNCs has grown from 7000 TNC parent ﬁrms in 1970 to over 65 000 in 2002. By 2002 there were also over 850 000 foreign afﬁliates – that is, corporations associated with a TNC – operating around the world, making up one-tenth of world GDP and onethird of world exports (UNCTAD, 2001: 9; 2002: xv, 272). Flows of FDI have grown considerably in recent decades. In 1970, the level of FDI inﬂows stood at US$9.2 billion, and by 2001 it stood at US$735 billion (down from the record-breaking US$1.49 trillion in 2000) (UNCTAD, 2001: 1; World Bank, 2003). Given this importance of transnational investment, it is clear that TNCs are very important global actors. They are especially important in environmental politics and policy because they tend to invest in environmentally sensitive sectors. This chapter will examine the role of business actors in global environmental governance. It argues that the visibility and power of TNCs in the formulation of global environmental governance has increased in the past decade. While this enhanced position has given TNCs a stronger voice in inﬂuencing global environmental policy outcomes, it has also led to a movement to impose external rules on these actors, in the form of a global corporate accountability agreement. In the face of growing momentum to...
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