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The political trajectory of the Brazilian CSR movement

Alejandro Milcíades Peña (Department of Politics and History, Brunel University, London, United Kingdom)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 30 September 2014




This paper aims to examine the origins and trajectory of the Brazilian corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement in relation to political economic developments in Brazil during and prior to the 2000s.


This paper relies on a historical political account that traces the evolution of the main actors in the CSR movement since the democratization period, details the contacts established with relevant political and civil society groups and outlines the adaptation of their agenda to the changing context.


The long association between a faction of Brazilian business and the Workers’ Party (PT) and the overlapping state – society relations characteristic of the Brazilian political economy explain the domestic and international standing of the Brazilian CSR movement, in particular since 2003 when Lula da Silva came to power.


The trajectory of Brazilian CSR and participation in related global initiatives cannot be explained through market-based or isomorphic approaches traditionally used to analyze the diffusion of governance mechanisms in the Global South. Rather, it highlights the relevance of local political structures in shaping involvement in global governance initiatives.



The author would like to thank Prof Andreas Nölke and different commentators in relation to an early version of this article presented at the 2012 “The role of large emerging countries in the world economy” Conference at the University of Parma. In addition, the author extends sincere thanks to two anonymous reviewers and the editorial team of CPoIB.


Milcíades Peña, A. (2014), "The political trajectory of the Brazilian CSR movement", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 310-328.



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