Corporate social responsibility: the case of forestry in Ghana

Project summary

The Ghanaian forest resources provide important welfare benefits such as livelihood maintenance, carbon storage and economic growth. A high rate of deforestation threatens the continued provision of these benefits. Weakly enforced government regulation of logging operations has been identified as one of the important drivers of the present deforestation in Ghana. CSR is generally described as a market based mechanism where a company on a voluntary basis addresses social and environmental issues other than what government regulations prescribe. The non-state nature of the market-based forms of forest governance may provide important contributions to forest improvements particularly in places where state governance is absent or weak. The absent or weak state governance may, however, also impede the continued functionality of the market-based system. Particularly when it comes to abilities and inclination of private sector actors contributing to issues of tropical deforestation being addressed, further knowledge is needed with regards to the factors affecting this. The potentials of CSR contributing to sustained forest management depend on the incentive of logging operators to initiate CSR integration in their business. Acquiring insights on these various factors and relative importance will enable discussions regarding the ability of CSR and market based mechanisms to address issues of deforestation, particularly in areas where government regulations are absent or weak.

Outputs

Project Completion Report:

Title of PhD: what shapes policy reform ? Forest policy implementation in Ghana

 

This thesis deals with the factors shaping forest policy output during the stages implementation and bases it's main message on empiricai findings from the forestry sector in Ghana. Policy and institutional factors are important underlying causes for deforestation, especially in the tropics. Forest policy reform is often used for mitigating this. Many reform initiatives, however, have outputs that deviate, at times substantially, from initial policy intentions. To examine how and why this is taking place the thesis takes point of departure in four cases of forest policy reform in Ghana and with a particular focus on the factors influencing reform output. The main message is that state actor decisions are central determinants for the ways in which reform output is shaped. It contests political economy theory by showing that these decisions are not only determined by state actors sole pursuit of power and personal benefits. Rather, the thesis shows how state actors decisions are shaped by a complex inter-relation of circumstances, interests and resources at play during the level of policy implementation. Thesis findings are based on collection and analysis of qualitative data collected from actors within government, civil society, timber industry and local communities and thus provides important contributions to the existing logic within the field of tropical forest governance.

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