New Investments in Argentina and Colombia: CSR, Regulatory Regime Centrality, and Openness
While Chinese companies in Colombia were often criticized for their poor labor and environmental records, their operations in Argentina reflected mixed receptions. Again, host governments’ energy governance structures were found to directly determine social commitments. Two important findings deepen our understanding on CSR in a holistic context. First, without stability in governing its hydrocarbons sector (as in the case of Colombia), a liberal-minded host government does not necessarily reward CSR. Second, the extent to which the regulatory framework encourages CSR depends on the level of decentralization in the framework. A bureaucratically and financially decentralized energy sector organization empowers local and provincial authorities to steer oil firms toward CSR (the case of Argentina). Civil society capacity was weak in both countries due to different constraints. In Argentina, the civic space was politicized and deinstitutionalized since the Peron era as a result of a dual legacy of Peronist class-based citizenship and neoliberal reforms. In Colombia, civil society organizations failed to coordinate with oil companies because of the decades-long internal violence.