¿ Responsible Soy ? A corporate response to the negative impacts of soy production and expansion on sustainable and inclusive development
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The concept of responsible business, or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), characterizes companies which commit to minimize their negative impacts and generate positive contributions to society. While many studies exist on how responsible business manifests itself in western countries, there is a lack of sound evidence on how businesses can contribute to and influence economic, social and environmental development in the Global South. A sector in which the adoption of CSR principles has been particularly controversial is the global soy industry, as the sector has become widely known for its negative impacts, including violent conflicts over land, the forced displacement of rural population groups, deforestation and the indiscriminate use of toxic agrochemicals. Empirical research has been conducted in Paraguay to explore to what extent responsible business represents a solution to the negative impacts of soy production and expansion and contributes to sustainable and inclusive development. Three responsible soy companies have been selected as case studies. The findings reveal that the companies reduce part of the negative impacts of their operations by complying with laws and regulations, and make contributions to local development by providing community assistance. However, responsible soy, in its current form, represents an inadequate response to the structural factors which drive the concentration of land and resources, environmental degradation and exclusion in Paraguay’s rural economy.