Sagebien, Julia; Lindsay, Nicole; Campbell, Peter; Cameron, Rob; Smith, Naomi
September 2008
Canadian Foreign Policy (CFP);2008, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p103
Academic Journal
This paper examines the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Canadian mining activity in Latin America at the turn of the 21st century as existing within a broader political economic system. Given the magnitude of this activity, efforts and instruments that enhance the positive impacts of mining and minimize negative externalities should be of crucial concern for Canadian foreign policy makers. We suggest that CSR, by itself, is not an effective risk-management strategy for companies, affected communities, or host nations, nor does CSR alone contribute sufficiently to genuinely sustainable development goals. Rather, by contextualizing CSR efforts in the mining industry as influenced by a variety of public (state), private (corporate), supranational, non-governmental organizations, and citizen actors and allies, all actors can more effectively support and enable corporate-led initiatives that respect human and labour rights and ecological limits, and contribute to sustainable development. While the authors view voluntary CSR as a positive step towards this goal, our analysis of the context within which Canadian companies operate suggests that greater diplomatic oversight and support is warranted in order to enhance the uneven efficacy of corporate initiatives.


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