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Transforming wood energy in Sweden and Chile: Climate change, environmental communication and a critical political ecology of international forestry companies

Cristián Alarcón (Escuela de Derecho – Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Santiago, Chile)

critical perspectives on international business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Publication date: 3 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically analyse and problematize the relations between international forestry companies and wood energy in the context of climate change in Chile and Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on interviews, field observations and analysis of documents, case studies of international forestry companies and wood energy in local areas of Chile and Sweden are examined comparatively. A conceptual framework combining political ecology and environmental communication is developed to approach the cases.

Findings

The paper finds that the two international forestry companies studied here have widely incorporated the use of wood energy as a renewable and carbon neutral energy strategy for their forestry business. Second, the paper finds that wood energy is used as a way to reproduce forestry development in the two countries, which is contested by NGOs and activists which are today articulating critical approaches to forestry development in the two countries. Third, related to the former finding, the paper finds that the incorporation of wood energy into the forest sector’s interests in Chile and Sweden takes place in the context of important social-ecological conflicts related to industrial forestry development.

Originality/value

The paper’s analytical framework helps to analyse the social-ecological nature of international business and the way they organise material practices and communicative meaning around renewable energy. The paper’s findings and analysis shed light on important problematic aspects of the material and symbolic struggles around renewable energy in the context of climate change. The comparative dimension of the analysis has the value to offer a cross-border analysis to improve the understanding of some of the most important aspects of international businesses concerning wood energy today.

Keywords

Citation

Alarcón, C. (2019), "Transforming wood energy in Sweden and Chile: Climate change, environmental communication and a critical political ecology of international forestry companies", critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 361-377. https://doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-05-2018-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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