Missing the Forest for the Profits: The Role of Multinational Corporations in the International Forest Regime

Image credit: Liliana M. Davalos


The international community has placed great hope and invested considerable time in exploring a global forest convention through the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development’s Intergovernmental Forum on Forests and the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests process under the Commission on Sustainable Development. Multinational corporations control almost 40% of the world market in forest products, constituting a major stakeholder in global forest policy. The few cases of direct intervention by multinational corporations at international fora suggest their interests are expressed elsewhere. The authors identify and discuss three types of intervention in the existing forest regime: avoidance, enforcement-driven compliance, and performance-driven compliance. The regime has not achieved performance-driven compliance from multinational corporations because the regime itself is weak and has little support from states internationally and domestically. The authors suggest that multinational corporations have been so effective at avoiding or conditioning compliance that incentives for complying fully with the regime are nil.

Journal of Environment and Development , 10(4), 345-364
Liliana M. Dávalos
Liliana M. Dávalos
Professor of Conservation Biology

I’m interested in biodiversity, both its past and its future.