Spring 2022 Colloquium
Wed, February 16 | 3:30pm | 575 McCone & Zoom
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and transnational hybrid governance in Ecuador’s palm oil industry
Adrienne Johnson (she/her)
Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco (Environmental Studies)
The expansion of Latin America’s palm oil frontier has spurred an explosion of interest in the socio-environmental impacts of palm oil production with a particular focus on the effectiveness of global sustainability certification standards in addressing induced vulnerabilities. Only a small fraction of this research, however, analyzes how the institutionalization of global standards impacts local contexts. This talk draws on the case of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Ecuador and asks: 1) How does the local introduction and institutionalization of RSPO standards (re)shape national and sub-national environmental governance structures and relations? 2) How do RSPO standards reconfigure long-standing notions of power and authority? Drawing on extended fieldwork, I show that the introduction of RSPO standards has prompted major shifts in domestic palm oil governance which point to an emerging transnational hybrid governance regime that has enabled new governance authorities in the sector yet at the same time, has reinscribed the uneven power relations of the palm oil industry.
Dr. Adrienne Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco who received a PhD in geography from Clark University. She specializes in critical approaches to environmental governance and extraction, and contributes to anti-colonial and feminist reflections on the methods and methodologies of natural resource industries fieldwork. Previously, Adrienne was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada postdoctoral scholar at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. She is currently a Research Fellow with the Earth System Governance Project and Board Member for the Conference of Latin American Geography.