Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources

Edited by Andreas Goldthau, Michael F. Keating and Caroline Kuzemko

This Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the latest research from leading scholars on the international political economy of energy and resources. Highlighting the important conceptual and empirical themes, the chapters study all levels of governance, from global to local, and explore the wide range of issues emerging in a changing political and economic environment.
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Chapter 13: Transnational private regulation and the global governance of palm oil sustainability: from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification to the Palm Oil Innovation Group/No-Deforestation standard

Helen E.S. Nesadurai


This chapter examines transnational private governance in the palm oil sector, a multi-billion dollar global industry controversial for its role in deforestation, global warming, as well as conflicts over land and labour. However, failure of its principle producer governments in Malaysia and Indonesia to address these adverse impacts led NGOs and consumer goods manufacturers to establish private standards to govern the behaviour of palm oil firms. The analysis shows how private environmental and social standards relied on the market to drive change in the behaviour of the very same palm oil plantation corporations responsible in the past for unsustainable production practices, protected as they were by their cosy patron–client relations with state actors. The chapter thus speaks to broader debates in global governance concerning the conditions under which new forms of environmental and social regulation become embedded in local contexts characterised by deeply entrenched local power relations favouring more profitable extractive forms of economic activity.

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