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11 Dec 2013

Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, University of Twente (Netherlands), Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

[PDF] Quality Kilowatts? A Normative-Empirical Analysis of Corporate Responsibility for Sustainable Electricity Provision in the Global South

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited AES, Datang, Endesa, Eskom, SN Power to respond. Endesa responses provided. AES and SN Power did not respond. We will indicate here whether Datang and Eskom respond]. There has been an increase in activity around corporate responsibility (CR) in recent years in the electricity industry. However, there is little empirical knowledge regarding how electricity TNCs incorporate international norms for SEP [sustainable electricity provision] into their CR policies and how they make the difficult trade-offs among the various social, environmental, and economic issues associated with SEP...It is crucial to investigate the variation in electricity TNCs’ approach to CR, as well as the associated impact on communities, workers, economies, and the environment in the Global South...Overall, the present study concludes that internationally-agreed normative standards are largely not respected by the electricity companies in their operations in the Global South... two of the primary conclusions of the analysis: 1) Significant differences exist in performance of the five TNC case studies with respect to the SEP benchmarks. 2) Nearly all companies are unable or unwilling to translate their headquarters-level policies into practice on the ground, with some clearly less able or less willing to do so than others. [Case studies on AES, Datang, Endesa (part of Enel), Eskom, SN Power]