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Peter Dauvergne

Peter Dauvergne is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of the award-winning The Shadows of Consumption: Consequences for the Global Environment (MIT Press) and other books.

Titles by This Author

A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability

McDonald’s promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Unilever has set a deadline of 2020 to reach 100 percent sustainable agricultural sourcing. Walmart has pledged to become carbon neutral. Today, big-brand companies seem to be making commitments that go beyond the usual “greenwashing” efforts undertaken largely for public relations purposes. In Eco-Business, Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister examine this new corporate embrace of sustainability, its actual accomplishments, and the consequences for the environment.

For many leading-brand companies, these corporate sustainability efforts go deep, reorienting central operations and extending through global supply chains. Yet, as Dauvergne and Lister point out, these companies are doing this not for the good of the planet but for their own profits and market share in a volatile, globalized economy. They are using sustainability as a business tool.

Advocacy groups and governments are partnering with these companies, eager to reap the governance potential of eco-business efforts. But Dauvergne and Lister show that the acclaimed eco-efficiencies achieved by big-brand companies limit the potential for finding deeper solutions to pressing environmental problems and reinforce runaway consumption. Eco-business promotes the sustainability of big business, not the sustainability of life on Earth.

The Political Economy of the Global Environment

This comprehensive and accessible book fills the need for a political economy view of global environmental politics, focusing on the ways international economic processes affect environmental outcomes. It examines the main actors and forces shaping global environmental management, particularly in the developing world. Moving beyond the usual emphasis on international agreements and institutions, it strives to capture not only academic theoretical debates but also views on politics, economics, and the environment within the halls of global conferences, on the streets during antiglobalization protests, and in the boardrooms of international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and industry associations. The book maps out an original typology of four contrasting worldviews of environmental change--those of market liberals, institutionalists, bioenvironmentalists, and social greens--and uses them as a framework to examine the links between the global political economy and ecological change. This typology provides a common language for students, instructors, and scholars to discuss the issues across the classical social science divisions.The second edition of this popular text has been thoroughly revised and updated to reflect recent events, including the food crisis of 2007-2008, the financial meltdown of 2008, and the Copenhagen Climate Conference of 2009. Topics covered include the environmental implications of globalization; wealth, poverty, and consumption; global trade; transnational corporations; and multilateral and private finance.

Consequences for the Global Environment

An environmentalist maps the hidden costs of overconsumption in a globalized world by tracing the environmental consequences of five commodities.

Japan and the Politics of Timber in Southeast Asia

1998 Winner of the International Studies Association's Harold and Margaret Sprout Award

Peter Dauvergne developed the concept of a "shadow ecology" to assess the total environmental impact of one country on resource management in another country or area. Aspects of a shadow ecology include government aid and loans; corporate practices, investment, and technology transfers; and trade factors such as consumption, export and consumer prices, and import tariffs.

In Shadows in the Forest, Dauvergne examines Japan's effect on commercial timber management in Indonesia, East Malaysia, and the Philippines. Japan's shadow ecology has stimulated unsustainable logging, which in turn has triggered widespread deforestation. Although Japanese practices have improved somewhat since the early 1990s, corporate trade structures and purchasing patterns, timber prices, wasteful consumption, import tariffs, and the cumulative environmental effects of past practices continue to undermine sustainable forest management in Southeast Asia.

This book is the first to analyze the environmental impact of Japanese trade, corporations, and aid on timber management in the context of Southeast Asian political economies. It is also one of the first comprehensive studies of why Southeast Asian states are unable to enforce forest policies and regulations. In particular, it highlights links between state officials and business leaders that reduce state funds, distort policies, and protect illegal and unsustainable loggers. More broadly, the book is one of the first to examine the environmental impact of Northeast Asian development on Southeast Asian resource management and to analyze the indirect environmental impact of bilateral state relations on the management of one Southern resource.

A BIT of Eco-Business

Today, big-brand companies seem to be making commitments to sustainability that go beyond the usual “greenwashing” efforts undertaken largely for public relations purposes. McDonald’s promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Walmart has pledged to become carbon neutral. This BIT examines some of these corporate sustainability efforts and their ultimate goal.