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Article

Corporate Power in the Bioeconomy Transition: The Policies and Politics of Conservative Ecological Modernization in Brazil

1
Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
2
Stockholm Environment Institute, 104 51 Stockholm, Sweden
Academic Editor: Idiano D’Adamo
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126952
Received: 28 April 2021 / Revised: 14 June 2021 / Accepted: 17 June 2021 / Published: 21 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Topic Actions for Bioenergy and Biofuels: A Sustainable Shift)
The bioeconomy transition is a double-edged sword that may either address fossil fuel dependence sustainably or aggravate human pressures on the environment, depending on how it is pursued. Using the emblematic case of Brazil, this article analyzes how corporate agribusiness dominance limits the bioeconomy agenda, shapes innovation pathways, and ultimately threatens the sustainability of this transition. Drawing from scholarship on power in agri-food governance and sustainability transitions, an analytical framework is then applied to the Brazilian case. The analysis of current policies, recent institutional changes and the case-specific literature reveals that, despite a strategic framing of the bioeconomy transition as a panacea for job creation, biodiversity conservation and local development (particularly for the Amazon region), in practice major soy, sugarcane and meatpacking conglomerates dominate Brazil’s bioeconomy agenda. In what can be described as conservative ecological modernization, there is some reflexivity regarding environmental issues but also an effort to maintain (unequal) social and political structures. Significant agribusiness dominance does not bode well for smallholder farmers, food diversity or natural ecosystems, as major drivers of deforestation and land-use change (e.g., soy plantations, cattle ranching) gain renewed economic and political stimulus as well as greater societal legitimacy under the bioeconomy umbrella. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; bioeconomy; agri-food systems; sustainability transitions; power relations; biofuels; Amazon; soy; sugarcane; value chains agriculture; bioeconomy; agri-food systems; sustainability transitions; power relations; biofuels; Amazon; soy; sugarcane; value chains
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bastos Lima, M.G. Corporate Power in the Bioeconomy Transition: The Policies and Politics of Conservative Ecological Modernization in Brazil. Sustainability 2021, 13, 6952. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126952

AMA Style

Bastos Lima MG. Corporate Power in the Bioeconomy Transition: The Policies and Politics of Conservative Ecological Modernization in Brazil. Sustainability. 2021; 13(12):6952. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126952

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bastos Lima, Mairon G. 2021. "Corporate Power in the Bioeconomy Transition: The Policies and Politics of Conservative Ecological Modernization in Brazil" Sustainability 13, no. 12: 6952. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126952

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