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.