From Threat to Opportunity? Problems with Codes of Conduct for Land Grabbing



In this chapter, we argue that the idea of a Code of Conduct (CoC)-framed response to the global land grab—a generic formulation that includes a variety of specific mechanisms such as the “Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments” (RAI) and a variety of existing voluntary multistakeholder roundtables on different crops—veers away from questioning the fundamental roots of land-grabbing, i.e., the existing industrial pattern of food and energy production and consumption controlled by Transnational Corporations(TNCs), while engaging in the problematic notion of “win-win” scenarios. In our view, for all the reasons outlined above, a CoC-framed response to land-grabbing is likely to facilitate, not block, further land-grabbing and thus should not be considered, even as a second-best approach. Some may argue that the idea of a CoC, despite its inherent weaknesses, should still be considered as a possible second-best, pragmatic approach on the grounds that large-scale land-grabbing is inevitable in the current economic climate and political-institutional context. Yet we contend that land-grabbing is not inevitable, that it can be prevented, and that concerted efforts should be undertaken to stop it.


Land grabs Code of conduct RAI principles Biofuels Land investments 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social StudiesThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Transnational InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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