Browsing by Subject "global governance"

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  • Mustakallio, Vili (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study examines the climate responsibility, a sub-category of corporate social responsibility (CSR), of two oil companies, ExxonMobil and Shell. The study is a comparative case study of the climate responsibilities of two private oil companies, that makes use of academic literature and recent primary sources of the case companies, such as sustainability reports and statements. The study has a theoretical emphasis, and at first, it discusses the theoretical debates involving CSR. The separation of ownership and control in corporations that occurred in the early 20th century enriched the later discussion about the contradictions between capitalism and CSR, which was emerging slowly. From the 1970s, the practice of CSR became more familiar, and for instance, the orthodox liberal viewpoint became more positive about it: It was possible to combine profit-maximizing and CSR. Later, in the 21st century, governance studies gave a new perspective on interdisciplinary CSR studies. The study shows that climate responsibility might differ extensively between two same-sized oil companies. ExxonMobil’s climate responsibility has changed in the past twenty years: First, the company doubted whether climate change was true. Later, it admitted that it is a fact, and the company has committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. However, it commits to greenwashing regarding finding solutions. The company emphasizes its expertise and authority and is against government climate regulation. For ExxonMobil, the responsibility remains on the level of talk. It is not attempting to withdraw from oil. Shell’s climate responsibility, however, materializes in practice, too, even though the company has committed to greenwashing in the past. Shell has invested substantially in renewable energy sources and states that it aims to transform its business model to correspond with ambitious climate objectives. Further, contrary to ExxonMobil, Shell relies on a climate scenario, which follows an estimate that global warming from the pre-industrial era will not exceed 2°C. The study underlines that instrumental factors can explain the forms of corporate climate responsibility. However, the study does not exclude institutional, relational, nor philanthropic reasons for climate responsibility. This study discusses broad instrumentalism, which includes profit-maximizing and pursuit of corporate power. Profit-maximizing explains the form of climate responsibility that both companies practice. ExxonMobil’s climate responsibility speech is explained by maintaining a reputation and advertising matters, that is, short-term profits. However, its climate responsibility in practice remains modest, even irresponsible: The company is not withdrawing from oil nor investing in renewable energy sources. That is because, whereas the new oil resources are becoming harder and harder to exploit, ExxonMobil has relatively large oil resources compared with other oil companies. In turn, Shell’s climate responsibility is explained, especially by the long-term profits. Shell has relatively low oil reserves. Thus, it prepares for future regulation and positions as a progressive actor regarding energy transition to maximize profits in the 22nd century. Also, the case companies differ in the way they pursue corporate power. In the case of ExxonMobil, its climate responsibility speech is an attempt to pursuit corporate power against government regulation and to obtain autonomy. On the other hand, in climate issues, Shell highlights cooperation with the government and other stakeholders instead of self-regulation through its CSR. In the end, the thesis discusses the implications of the results to a broader question of global climate governance. When sustainability has become a growing business, and there are challenges in global climate governance, it is important to recognize the limits of climate responsibility, and more broadly, the limits of corporate social responsibility as a long-term solution. However, in the short term, the climate efforts of corporations are necessary to fill the regulatory gaps of global climate governance.
  • Isokangas, Pauliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – if it continues to grow at the projected rate, by 2050 it will consume more than ¼ of the world’s carbon budget. In 2018, the United Nations Climate Change brought together 43 fashion industry representatives to develop a common approach to the industry’s combat against climate change. The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action aims to address the industry’s issues on a global level by establishing targets to e.g. reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage the transformation towards the use of renewable energy sources throughout the value chain. The Charter, however, is not legally binding in any way – this raises questions regarding its credibility and its role as an instrument of regulation. The Charter is an example of voluntary industry-wide self-regulation; participation is voluntary, the targets were set by the original 43 signatories themselves and there are no methods for enforcement or holding actors accountable in case of non-compliance. These issues have been somewhat addressed in the Charter by e.g. tying it to other reputable initiatives and legislation, such as the Paris Agreement. The lack of accountability and enforcement methods have been partly compensated by e.g. requiring public reporting of certain greenhouse gas emissions. In the absence of traditional enforcement methods (e.g. sanctions), the Charter relies heavily on informal methods, such as reputational pressure. While the Charter is undoubtedly a positive step towards a more sustainable fashion industry, its methods of enforcement and ensuring compliance leave room for improvement. A few studies have also been conducted in relation to the Charter’s targets, and it has been suggested that it may not be enough to address the climate impacts of the fashion industry adequately. The Charter is a promising start towards a more sustainable future but in order to tackle climate change, the fashion industry needs binding targets backed up by formal enforcement methods (e.g. commercially significant sanctioning).
  • Saari, Leevi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This thesis analyses the regulation of platform economy in the European Commission. The rise of large technology corporations as the underlying infrastructure of much of social activity has received fervent attention in recent years. However, there is still little consensus on the implications of this process. Does the new platform economy affect only market processes, or does it have broader societal consequences? Further, is platform economy something truly new or is it only a continuation of past forms of corporate power? These questions have acute practical importance. On the 15th of December 2020, the European Commission released a proposal for legislation that seeks to address the power of large platform corporations, called the “Digital Markets Act”. What kind of corporate power does this proposal seek to regulate? And what does it suggest about the regulatory paradigm of the European Commission? The contribution of this thesis consists of three parts. The first part is conceptual. In Chapter 2, an original analytical framework for classifying different dimensions of platform power is proposed. This framework helps to illustrate the continuities and novelties in the capabilities of platform corporations and bring together disconnected strands of research from different disciplines. The second part is empirical. In Chapter 3, the development of platform regulation in the European Commission from Spring 2015 to December 2020 is explained and the framework developed in Chapter 2 is used to analyze a recent proposal for regulation of platform economy, the Digital Markets Act. The last part of the contribution is theoretical. In Chapter 4, the Commission’s proposal is mapped on the horizon of potential alternative contrast spaces, which helps to illuminate the underlying political choices and clarify possible contradictions between different authors. The key conclusion of the work is that the European Commission has sought to address platform economy primarily as an aberration of efficient market processes. This has impacted the type of knowledge that is used in policymaking as well as the range of stakeholders consulted for the legislation. As a consequence, the European Commission ends up seeing platform corporations as actors whose capabilities are limited to manipulation of market activities. Systematic treatment of alternative framings is used to illuminate opportunities for broader analyses on the role of platform economy in the global political economy.
  • Burtsov, Petri (2006)
    Increasingly, traditional peacekeeping operations are giving way to what are referred to as either peace-, state-, or nationbuilding projects. This conceptual shift is due less to changes in the target states than it is to changes in the international system. Recognition of state failure as a security threat, the fading away of the sanctity of state sovereignty, and the absence of the Cold War –era deterrent have led to an increase in more robust and wholesome engagement in post-war societies, resulting in increased politicization of peacekeeping. This transformation also necessitates a transformation of the study of peacekeeping insofar as peacekeeping cannot be observed without contextualizing it within the larger framework of international relations. This paper suggests that statebuilding be seen as a way of reproducing the dominant, liberal democratic state conglomerate. By looking at the statebuilding operation in Bosnia since 1995, this paper shows that the interests and the ideologies of the donor community often precede those of the local society’s. In order to show this, the paper uses a theoretical framework in which peacebuilding is divided into statebuilding and nationbuilding. Statebuilding is seen as the institutional rebuilding of the state structure, whereas nationbuilding refers to the social reconciliation in the civil society sphere. This dual framework is used to study the General Framework Agreement for Peace (Dayton Agreement). The 150 pages of the Dayton Agreement form the primary material of the analysis, and previous research from academics and think thanks, especially the International Crisis Group, are used as secondary sources. The first section looks at the Dayton Agreement in this dual framework. It concludes that both statebuilding and nationbuilding appear as elements in the wording of the agreement, and that it is therefore not possible to characterize the peace agreement as only that of creating a western-modelled state with little regard to reconciling the ethnic hatred. The second section expands on the themes of the first section by looking at the practice of peacebuilding in the post-war Bosnia. Attention is given in particular to territorial arrangements, political structures, equality before law, and human rights. This section shows how the institutional structure imposed on Bosnia consistently works to reproduce rather than alleviate the ethnic divisions that caused the conflict in the first place. Many of the political and social institutions established under the Dayton framework have, in institutional terms, transformed Bosnia into a western liberal-democratic state, but have nonetheless left the Bosnian people to deal with their ethnic divisions themselves. The paper concludes by assessing the research process, presenting the main findings, and by presenting the implications of this case study to both the study and practice of peacebuilding.
  • Warro, Eeva (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    This thesis scrutinises EU civilian crisis management as an instrument of global liberal governance. Critical Theorists’ views on peace operations form the starting point of the thesis. In their view peace operations are instrumental in spreading liberal common sense and state-centric and managerialist in nature turning subjects of security into objects. Instead they call for more complex operations based on local leadership and wide civil society engagement. This thesis sides, however, with an alternative problematisation of political power, government and war, namely the Foucaultian governmentality approach. Besides Foucault (1977; 1990; 2003; 2007) the theoretical background of this thesis is inspired especially by the works of Dillon and Reid (2008; 2009). With their advancements global liberal governance is seen as a security dispositif with which a biopolitical world order is upheld. EU civilian crisis management, itself a complex ensemble, is argued to be an instance of the dispositif and the analysis focuses on showing how. The research material of this thesis consists in speeches of the EU High Representative for ESDP, Javier Solana, in official EU policy documents, notably the European Security Strategy; in guidelines and policy documents pertaining more specifically to ESDP civilian crisis management and to civilian crisis management training as well as in documents and web-pages of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. The methodological orientation for scrutinising this material is the Foucaultian governmentality approach, relying mainly on works of Rose (1992; 1993; 1999; 2006; 2007). Political rationalities, governmental technologies and subjects are the central analytical concepts utilised for the analysis. The security rationality of the EU, in particular in the field of ESDP civilian crisis management, is biopolitical. Contingency and the Union’s ability to discern threatening developments from good ones figure as the greatest security concerns in the material analysed. These are addressed by emergency thinking, whereby the security of the governmental mechanisms of crisis management themselves becomes central. In order to be resilient in the face of contingency, the system needs to be in constant transformation. This logic of constant transformation and adaptation are governmentalised in the EU civilian crisis management system by various biopolitical techniques and mechanisms that in the discussion are grouped as technologies of reflexive government, harmonisation and co-location. These technologies are instrumental in producing also subjects, which are capable in living out the rationality of emergency and which thus reproduce it and maintain the governmental technologies. The civilian crisis management experts are articulated as relays and objects of governmental power. On one hand, they collect information through which different instances are made governable thus ensuring government without Government, and on another, mechanisms upon mechanisms are introduced to keep the experts and the civilian crisis management system itself on check in the fear of it turning acerbic. It is concluded that the thus biostrategised EU civilian crisis management is instrumental in mobilising different civilian sectors of societies to the biopolitical war waged by global liberal governance. Thereby, the view adopted is akin to that of the Critical Theorists about liberal peace operations, but this thesis goes into depth about the actual processes and techniques of global liberal governance and makes reference to no relation of subjugation, but sees power as productive, not merely restrictive.
  • Taskinen, Mika-Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Over the course of the last decades, China’s rise has been among the most essential phenomena in world politics. Along with it, the consensus among scholars is that in the era of president Xi Jinping, China has abandoned the “hide and bide” principle and become an active norm leader in the global arena. This study examines China’s influence and activity in the United Nations General Assembly, the organ which has the broadest agenda within the UN system and in which every state has equal representation. This work fills the gap in recent research on the General Assembly by studying resolutions adopted between 2013 and 2018 that China participated drafting. Hence, the study expands the scope of China's known activity in international affairs. This study utilizes both quantitative and qualitative content analysis. By using mixed methods, it was possible to extract numeric data from the sample (n=351) but also to take a closer look at the language of the resolutions. Furthermore, the data also revealed the countries that supported and opposed China-sponsored resolutions, determining the group of countries that enabled China’s rise in the General Assembly. The analysis showed that China’s global responsibility campaign stretched to the General Assembly in which it actively participated in decision making. While the majority of the resolutions that China sponsored were in line with the overall sentiment, clashes occurred especially in the subjects concerning individual freedoms and human rights. In these spheres, the individual-centered order led by the United States competes with China’s state-centered order. China appears to have gained the upper hand by having the support of circa 120 states, mostly in the developing world. The study concludes that China is the most active global power in the General Assembly, and with the help of the majority of the UN member states, has managed to promote its worldview in the resolutions.
  • Xu, Yan (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis describes and analyses a fairly recent phenomenon – the Belt and Road Initiative, ie the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. As a new form of international cooperation introduced by Chinese government in 2013, the initiative was created in response to complex international, regional and domestic situations. The first and second chapters are intended to give a brief introduction to the initiative, including the background, research questions, structure of the thesis, author’s motivation for this study, the historical reference, recent history, et cetera. The third chapter looks into the existing instruments and institutions under the initiative and attempts to explain its architecture, following which the fourth chapter tries to understand the initiative from an institutional and normative point of view, and the fifth chapter sums up this thesis. The initiative has a historical reference to the ancient silk road, both overland and maritime trading routes which facilitate the exchange of goods, information, technologies, ideas between the countries along the routes. Beyond the literal meaning, the initiative extends its wishes to carry on “silk road spirit” that passed from generation to generation in history. While the initiative envisages such a connectivity network, it is more a corollary of the unique development path of China, particularly since it started to “open up” itself to the world, as led by the its renowned “reform and opening up” policy in 1978. Around forty years of economic reform gives rise to China’s increase influence in the globe. The reform as started in economic sphere was later expanded to politics, culture, society and ecology. Shortly following Xi Jinping arising as China’s latest paramount leader, the initiative was announced, then further developed in the subsequent years. The Belt and Road initiative is established by two speeches of Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan and Indonesia, and it comprises a wide range of policy instruments, commonly including, policy orientation or proclamation papers formulated by China’s communist party. These policy instruments largely reflect the objectives of the initiative and actions China takes to achieve such vision. Furthermore, local provincial governments’ responses to the “vision and actions” of the central government of China, together with China’s policies concerning the outbound and inbound investment, are regarded as part of the policy instruments used under the initiative. From a global perspective, China engages with other states and organizations on cooperation within the framework of the initiative through memoranda of understanding, which are not intended to give rise to rights and obligations under international law. Joint statements are also commonly used for the promotion of the initiative, as part of a bigger picture of China’s bilateral relationships with other states. It is difficult to define the initiative in that the above instruments are policy-oriented and are not intended to delimit its scope (but to promote the initiative and facilitate the implementation of the initiative). As it is created to serve as a model of international cooperation, it is thus compared with formal organizations. A preliminary conclusion is reached under the thesis that the initiative is essentially different from formal organizations and loosely connected with the international legal community – it is a sort of spoke-and-hub network that is informal, flexible and inclusive. It is also explored briefly that such informal network actually reflects China’s wish to establish an alternative model of international cooperation due to its unique political and economic system (socialism with Chinese characteristics) that fundamentally differs from the liberal international system in a Western sense.
  • Heimo, Lauri; Syväterä, Jukka (2022)
    More than 60 countries have implemented a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. The predominant CCT narrative begins from programs created in Mexico and Brazil in the mid-1990s. The literature concerned with CCTs tends to take this narrative as a given. In this article, we examine the role of international organizations (IOs) in the global governance of social policy by exploring the use of narratives as a strategy IOs employ to claim and generate legitimacy for global policy models. We investigate how the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Food Policy Research Institute have discursively constructed the CCT model in their policy documents and thus crafted the CCT narrative. Our analysis sheds light on 'ghost-writing' i.e., the IOs practice of concealing their central role in writing scripts for policy models. Thus, our case adds a novel aspect to the existing scholarship on the global proliferation of policies.
  • Eriksson, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The thesis looks at corporate social responsibility and its political discourse in Finland. Corporate social responsibility has gained a lot of public attention during the last decades. Especially the unethical behaviour of multinational corporations has increased the demands for corporate accountability. Anthropologists have observed the chameleon-like character of corporate social responsibility phenomenon. The phenomenon seems to always transform according to the criticism it receives. Thus, anthropologists have questioned the efficiency of corporate social responsibility in addressing the social and global problems caused by corporations. Lately there has been increasing demands to legislate corporate social responsibility. The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the current public discourse on the legalisation of corporate social responsibility, and to discuss whether there is a possibility that this discourse will facilitate change in corporate behaviour. By examining this latest shift in the corporate social responsibility discourse, the thesis also critically evaluates the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility. The thesis is based on an ethnographic fieldwork that has been conducted in different public events addressing corporate social responsibility in Helsinki, Finland. The fieldwork was conducted between October 2018 and November 2019. The data for this thesis has been gathered through participant observation, unofficial discussions, online ethnography and the international policy documents underlying the discourse, such as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The data is analysed through the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility. But in order to gain new insights, this thesis draws also from other anthropological research that has addressed global governance. By drawing from the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility, the thesis argues that the global guidelines underlying the current discourse aim to establish a symbolic authority on the issue of corporate responsibility to respect human rights. But these guidelines do not set any strict requirements on corporations as they are voluntary. Instead, they promote a post-political ideology of collaborative action and consensus. But the thesis suggests that instead of foreclosing the political discussion on controversial topics, these guidelines actually move political conflicts into other locations. The thesis shows how corporations and other actors in the society negotiate the norms for corporate behaviour. It shows how Finnish corporations appeal to their size in order to displace and diminish their responsibility. However, this thesis argues that also other actors than corporations displace responsibility according to their interests, which is contrary to what the previous anthropological research has suggested. But simultaneously the actors aim to build consensus through partnerships, business case reasoning and development rhetoric, whose discursive power has already been recognised by the existing anthropological research. But the thesis suggests that, in addition to these, the actors in Finland build consensus through national rhetoric and by appearing morally higher and more conscientious than actors outside of Finland. Thus the discourse in Finland frames the issue of corporate respect for human rights as a cultural problem. To address this cultural problem, corporations embrace the development discourse, and thus human rights education is framed as the corporate responsibility of the Finnish corporations. The thesis has also shows how the discourse on the possible law is dominated by the practical problem of making the law. Thus, the thesis suggests that there is a risk that the law will not have much sanctioning power. The corporations can strategically utilise the human rights due diligence process to discharge responsibility, as they can show that they are trying to address the issues in their supply chains. Despite of the critical analysis of the current discourse, the thesis has argued that the public corporate social responsibility discourse, guidelines and legal technologies nonetheless foster change and increase ethical awareness of the corporations. Thus, the thesis argues that the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility has been too preoccupied with the focus on the discourse and practices of multinational corporations and the topics of power and inequality. These perspectives have resulted in overly critical analysis that assumes that the corporate social responsibility discourse always privileges corporations. Thus, the thesis argues that the existing anthropological research on corporate social responsibility diminishes the transformative capabilities of corporate social responsibility discourse and practice.