International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Global Corporate Environmentalism: Theoretical Expectations and Empirical Experience

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Since the mid‐1980s the concept of corporate environmentalism has taken hold among global stakeholders, promising improved environmental health and safety (EH&S) performance at multinational (MNC) facilities in less developed countries. In this article we examine corporate environmentalism through two lenses: (1) our own empirical case studies of three Third World subsidiaries of USA‐based multinationals; (2) evolving theories on EH&S performance at MNC subsidiaries in less developed countries. We suggest that over the past decade there has been a convergence of three theoretical perspectives – neoclassical, radical and ecological – toward consistent predictions of improved EH&S performances and relations with host country governments. However, important differences among the three perspectives remain in how each interprets improved EH&S performance in the context of long‐term benefits to corporations, host countries, workers, local publics and the global community. While we find that the neoclassical economic perspective is most consistent with the empirical findings of our three case studies, we also note some debatable neoclassical assumptions concerning whether all stakeholders benefit mutually from superior EH&S performance. In order to gain wide acceptance beyond the corporate sector, the concept of corporate environmentalism must be expanded to include greater labor participation and accounting for ecological interests. Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Publication Title

Business Strategy and the Environment

Publication Date

1-1-1995

Volume

4

Issue

4

First Page

192

Last Page

199

ISSN

0964-4733

DOI

10.1002/bse.3280040407

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