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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of socially responsible corporations in community development : a case study of Fundacion Nanpaz in the Ecuadorian Amazon Jawanda, Jasmindra

Abstract

Natural resource extraction has a deeply rooted legacy in the developing world, especially in Latin America, due to the historical onslaught of colonialism and mercantilism. For the past couple of decades, Latin America has been experiencing the phenomenon of globalization, accompanied by the influx of trans-national natural resource companies whose main mandate seems to be to enter a country, extract resources and then exit the area. However, as a result of this type of corporate conduct, the surrounding communities are often left in a state of cultural and environmental degradation. Interestingly, a new era of "corporate consciousness" is entering the business world where corporations are chanting the mantra of "social responsibility" and are thereby becoming committed to creating positive change in many marginalized communities throughout the world. This thesis examines two themes: (1) the role of a trans-national oil company as a "socially responsible" company in the communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon and; (2) the establishment of a local NGO, as a bridge between the trans-national oil company and communities, in order to implement viable community development projects. A community questionnaire (structured interview) was applied and unstructured interviews were conducted with community residents, NGO staff and environmental specialists. The principal findings were: (1) petroleum development creates adverse effects on the social, cultural, economic and environmental fabric of many communities; (2) there is a dire need for community organization for communities to become selfsufficient; (3) community residents must become part of the political process in order for their voices to be heard and recognized and; (4) community development projects can provide marginalized communities with alternative livelihood opportunities and effective conservation programs.

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