Powerful transnational corporations (TNC) and certain state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have strong interests in the future of the natural resource sectors, such as energy and agriculture. In general, these interests interfere with both sides of the climate change debate – mitigation and adaptation – not to mention the struggles for the rights to food and energy and human rights, including gender equality. Therefore, civil society organizations (CSOs) and social movements fighting for the human right to food, climate justice and equitable access to clean energy are increasingly faced with a strategic dilemma. They are torn in different directions:
• The “outsiders” are confronting, facing and fighting Big Oil, Big Energy, Big Agro and other actors that are pushing hard to maintain a fossil and growth based economy and preserve or even increase their control over the natural resource base.
• The “insiders” are working on “damage control” – that is, to mitigate and improve the initiatives of these transnational corporate actors, including state-owned enterprises.
At the same time, CSOs and local communities in the South (whose interests they defend) are increasingly experiencing the negative effects of a new development paradigm that the TNCs and SOEs are labeling “Green Growth” and, supposedly, stands for the alternative to the current economic system.
This paper is intended to inform strategy discussions of civil society actors working in the field of climate, energy, agriculture and resource politics. It describes the current state of multilateral (resource) governance and the root causes of its crisis; introduces the new and emerging corporate governance regime and its key players; briefly analyses key trends and implications of the “Green Growth” development paradigm promoted by these actors and fora using examples from key sectors and draws some initial conclusions and formulates open questions about what this means for civil society strategy.