The Politics of Resonance: Transnational Sustainability Governance in Argentina

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05/09/11. Carlos March, Executive Director, Avina Foundation Argentina.

06/09/11. Martín Kaindl, Director of Institutional Relations, IAPG.

07/09/11. Ana Muro, CSR Coordinator, CEADS.

08/09/11. Alberto Willi, Professor of Business, Society and Economy, IAE.

13/09/11. Alex Ehrenhaus, CSR Coordinator, Grupo Los Grobo.

13/09/11. Anonymous, IARSE.

14/09/11. Anonymous, Techint/UIA.

14/09/11. Anonymous, Universidad de San Andrés.

14/09/11. Jorge Taillant, Co-founder/Programme Director, CEDHA.

16/09/11. Mario Font Guido, Chairman, FAM/CECAM.


Table 1: Sustainability Participation Comparative Chart

Sources: FSC, 2015; GRI, 2015b; ISO, 2015; SAI, 2015; UNGC, 2015b

Table 2: Areas of Transnational Sustainability Governance

1 Argentina, with Brazil and the US, is one of the leading soy exporters in the world, with 70% of its domestic production controlled by 3% of the producers (García-López and Arizpe, 2010, p. 199).

2 Quantitative studies identify regime participation to positively correlate with a multiplicity of variables, from export orientation, to subscription to ILO conventions, freedom of press, civil society capacity, treaty participation, and/or domestic regulation and the rule-of-law (Berliner and Prakash, 2012; Toffel et al., 2015).

3 For example, in Brazil he misses the role of ideological affinities and collaborative links established in the democratization period between corporate promoters of CSR and influential political and civil society figures (Peña and Davies, 2014).

4 Among these processes, ‘frame amplification’ involves the idealization, clarification or invigoration of existing values and beliefs, while ‘frame extension’ entails reaching beyond the primary interests of norm-setters to include issues and concerns presumed to be of importance for the audience.

5 This can be particularly so in the context of the global South, as Southern actors can be expected to draw from political-cultural references that differ from those in the Northern supply side.

6 The UNGC states as its objective to align the operation and strategies of business with ‘ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption’ (UNGC, 2014), the GRI’s mission is ‘to make sustainability reporting a standard practice for all companies and organizations’ (GRI, 2014b), and the ISO 26000 norm provides ‘guidelines to all types of organizations, regardless of their size or location’ on concepts, principles, and practices of social responsibility (ISO, 2014a, p. 1). Furthermore, since 2010 the three initiatives have increasingly reference to each other as compatible and complementary, publishing joint guidelines (ISO, 2014b; UNGC, 2010).

7 The Argentine Ministry of Finance appears as a GRI’s Organizational Stakeholder since 2014.

8 For example, a high executive of the Techint Group could not explain what participation in the UNGC entailed (Techint/UIA, 2011, pers. comm., 8 September). Relevantly, a 2005 study on business lobby in Argentina concluded that early signatories of the UNGC did so for marketing purposes, with no intention of effective application (Pfeiffer, 2006, p. 75).

9 The IAPG executive occupying this position explained that there was no ‘agenda’ per se in the national network beyond compliance with UNGC guidelines, and that coordination activities were minimal (IAPG, 2011, pers. comm., 6 September).

10 CEADS is the Argentine chapter of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

11 Surprisingly, the last CEADS progress report – covering the 1998-2007 period – did not made a single reference to private sustainability initiatives (CEADS, 2008).

12 Already by 2004, Ethos member companies were claimed to represent about of a third of the Brazilian GDP (Young, 2004).

13 Riggirozzi (2009) refers to this model as ‘open economy nationalism’ while Richardson (2009) opts for ‘export-oriented populism’.

14 Documents available in CSA (2011).

15 Former Minister Romina Picolotti is currently under trial accused of malversation of public funds.

16 The conflict about the pulp mills on the Uruguay River (2005-2010) constitutes perhaps the main exception of an environmental question that became a (temporary) salient political concern, though this was also framed along the nationalist lines of the governmental discourse (Waisbord and Peruzzotti, 2009).

17 The Menem administration lowered average tariffs from 26% to 10%, sending many local firms to bankruptcy and/or to foreign hands. This contributed to the fragmentation of business representation, further reducing the institutional strength of the sector (Ross Schneider, 2004, p. 195).

18 This view was evident in the criticism by Argentine unions to the ISO 26000 norm.

19 This vision was clearly outlined in one of the first speeches by President Kirchner upon winning the presidency, where he stated his intention to discriminate from politics the ‘destroyers of the Nation’: the military, the Catholic Church, and business (Barbosa, 2010, p. 29).

20 This is registered to take place in Brazil, where environmentalism, CSR, and sustainability issues reverberate with broader social and political agendas, recently motivating the emergence of a ‘Sustainability Party’ (Author, Year).

21 See the point by Espach (2009, p. 32).

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