Accepted paper:

The New Oil Frontiers: Traceability, transparency and the governance of sustainability

Authors:

Martin Skrydstrup (Copenhagen Business School)

Paper short abstract:

How does our ability to track and trace palm oil throughout the supply chain relate to transparency and ultimately sustainability? This paper attempts to map this question by way of focusing on a series of new initiatives to enhance the transparency of global supply chains across Southeast Asia.

Paper long abstract:

How does our ability to track and trace palm oil throughout the supply chain relate to transparency and ultimately sustainability? This paper attempts to map this question by way of focusing on a series of new initiatives to enhance the transparency of global supply chains through new ways of tracing oil palm production across Southeast Asia. We argue that these current traceability initiatives target frontier spaces at the edges of global supply chains, where the reach of the state and the limits of corporate legitimacy intersect with agrarian contexts within discursive fields of sustainability certification and corporate commitments articulated as "transformative transparency". We argue that this calls for a renewed understanding of "resource frontiers", as being at the edge of global supply chains, but inside the State and embedded in th global discursive field of sustainability standards and CSR initiatives. Deploying a governmentality perspective with a specific focus on traceability as a technology of governance, we argue that rather than at the edge of the State, the new oil frontiers are to be located at the intersections of discursive registers on sustainability, agrarian contexts of smallholder organization and the infrastructures of the anthropocene.

back to panel A16
Stream:
Encounters between people, things and environments
Infrastructures of the Anthropocene