The Market for Treaties

By Affolder, Natasha | Chicago Journal of International Law, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

The Market for Treaties


Affolder, Natasha, Chicago Journal of International Law


Abstract

Corporations are consumers of treaty law. In this Article, I empirically examine three biodiversity treaty regimes-the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar Convention, and World Heritage Convention-to demonstrate that corporations implement or internalize treaty norms in a variety of ways that are not captured by the dominant model of treaty implementation-national implementation. As an exegetical model, I explore how corporations use biodiversity treaties as a source of private environmental standards. I focus on the interactions between mining and oil and gas companies and biodiversity treaties, as revealed through transactional documents, corporate reports, security law filings, and treaty secretariat reports. My central claim is that treaties provide a vital, but overlooked, point of interaction between intergovernmental environmental law and transnational law as developed by private actors.

This article reveals that the gravitational pull of treaties on private actors is differentially experienced. The shadow of law (both national and international) works variably across different companies, different industries and different geographies. And the same companies that are 'dumbing down' treaty meanings in one context may be advancing tools that promote stronger and deeper implementation of these same treaty norms in another. While the empirical record is thus littered with inconsistencies and seeming contractions, one thing is clear: the implications of corporate channelling of treaty meanings and obligations are significant for international law far beyond the context of biodiversity conventions. Growing pressure to define acceptable standards of environmental and social behavior for companies is creating a robust market for "international standards"-a market for treaties.

I. INTRODUCTION

Pick up a textbook on international environmental law and you will quickly enter into a world where the treaty is king.1 Flip through the pages of any recent article on "new governance" or "private environmental governance," however, and a radically different picture emerges - one of a world marked by "the failure of international 'Old Governance'"2 and a future where private forms of international law-making stand poised to displace traditional international law, including treaties. Exit the treaty, wither the state, and enter the age of regulatory networks, public-private partnerships, and corporate codes of conduct. The very language of "Old Governance" and "New Governance" suggests a model where legal instruments occupy competing, parallel and distinct spaces. It also implies that scholars have been busy staking territory and drawing lines. This new grammar of governance implies that a choice is to be made between treaties and private law initiatives. And it comes with a threat attached - that "international law could be ineffective, obsolete and inconsequential as corporations become subject to a distinct body of rules."

This Article will clarify theoretical concepts that are not apparent in a model that presumes international law and private governance initiatives compete in a zero sum game. I argue that treaties provide a vital, but overlooked, point of interaction between intergovernmental environmental law and transnational environmental law as developed significandy by private sector actors.4 As an exegetical model, I will examine how corporations use biodiversity treaties as sources of private environmental standards. More specifically, I will focus on interactions between mining and oil and gas companies and the World Heritage Convention,5 Ramsar Convention,6 and Convention on Biological Diversity.7

Based on empirical evidence collected from corporate reports, security law filings, and transactional documents, I demonstrate that corporations implement or internalize treaty norms in a variety of ways that are not captured by the dominant model of treaty implementation - national implementation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Market for Treaties
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.