Importing Environmentalism: Explaining Petroleos Mexicanos’ Cooperative Climate Policy



Theories of environment and development tend to preemptively strip developing-country firms of environmental agency, depicting them as passive targets of market, regulatory, and ideational influences originating elsewhere. This research examines the processes by and conditions under which developing-country firms actively “import” environmental norms, programs, and practices, drawing on a case study of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex)—one of the world’s largest oil companies and the only nationally-owned, developing-country oil company that has adopted a cooperative corporate climate policy. The article demonstrates that the company’s decision to support action on climate change resulted from efforts by climate policy entrepreneurs within Pemex’s environment division. They showed agency in choosing to prioritize the climate issue, in scanning their institutional environment for a climate policy template, in adjusting the template to suit Pemex’s particular circumstances, and in promoting the climate policy to internal and external constituencies. The research also highlights the prominent role of private sector channels in processes of environmental norm diffusion.


Environmental norms Petroleos Mexicanos Oil industry Climate change 



I thank Adrian Fernandez Bremauntz, the staff at the Instituto Nacional de Ecologia, Kate O’Neill, Brett Heeger, Stacy VanDeveer, and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and all the individuals that agreed to be interviewed for this project. An earlier version of this research was presented at the 2006 International Studies Association Annual meeting. Direct correspondence to Simone Pulver, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, 111 Thayer Street, Providence, RI 02912.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Studies and Environmental StudiesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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