Corporations and the Shaping of the Global Water Agenda
This chapter explores how a paradigm of CWS affects GWG. It presents the importance of understanding GWG as a constraining, as well as a constructed network. Recognising that those within the network generate the structure provides a powerful roadmap for producing change. However, the chapter also shows that within the context of GWG, the key factor that determines whether an actor has the capacity to influence the discussion is the amount of resource at the actor’s disposal. Companies’ often extensive resources place them at a considerable advantage and mean that the ‘playing field’ is by no means a level one. Thus, the key finding to emerge from this chapter is that with companies’ overriding capacities to convey their ‘story’, the direction of the global water discourse has been altered as a direct result of their inclusion into GWG. The argument is made by firstly revisiting the topic of GWG to show how actors come together to advance the ideas that constitute this structure. It then analyses specifically what ‘story’ companies tell about CWS, and assesses the extent to which this story has influenced the global water discourse. The analysis of companies’ ‘stories’ shows that their framing of market environmentalism – a doctrine resting on the possible alignment of environmental and economic objectives – as the solution to the water crisis perpetuates the use of particular strategies. This, in turn, legitimises particular approaches to water governance: the commercialisation of management, the economic valuation of water risk, and the liberalisation of governance.
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