Unnamed Road Mato Grosso 78680-000 BR

A primary objective of transnational sustainability governance is to address governance failures in the global south. But little is known about the conditions under which producer groups in these countries participate in private regulation. To shed some light on this question, this article examines the decisions of key players in the Brazilian agriculture industry to support (not to support) transnational sustainability governance. Using a qualitative case study approach, the article explores how soybean producers first backed the Roundtable on Responsible Soy, but then decided to withdraw their support from the initiative. In the sugarcane sector, the dynamic was a very different one. After initial resistance, the principal industry association switched strategy and endorsed Bonsucro, making it the leading sustainability standard for sugarcane in Brazil. Through a within-in case analysis and cross-sector comparison, this article shows how southern producer groups responded to economic and regulatory changes in the global market place, in particular, a shift in trade flows and the adoption of public sustainability regulation in the global north.

Lead organization:
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
Study sector:
Agriculture focus:
Sugarcane, Soy
Bonsucro, Roundtable on Responsible Soy
Study type:
Outcome or Impact Evaluation, Context or baseline assessment
Study design & methods:
Qualitative collection and analysis methods
Study scope:
Social issues, Environmental issues, Economic issues
Published on:
February 28, 2015
Name of lead contact:
Philip Schleifer